Ramblings from the Rector – 01/05/2023
Welcome to the New Year. In our Church calendar, we turned the page on the new year at the beginning of Advent, when we once again began to prepare to welcome the child Jesus into our hearts, into our lives, and into our worlds. According to the secular calendar, the New Year began on January 1, when we moved from 2023 to 2024.
I think it isn’t an accident that many cultures celebrate the New Year at this time of the year when the days have become as short as they will be, and when winter weather keeps us close to home and hearth. This is the time of year when those who were agriculturally oriented or even hunting-focused had the time to think, to ponder, to plan, to wonder. This is the time when cultures gathered to tell stories, the stories that sustained their communities. For these stories are what held the community together, that helped them to make decisions, and led them even when times were tough. These were the stories that provided the glue for the community.
Unfortunately, in our country right now, we are seeing what happens when a larger community does not have a unifying story. When there are competing narratives, groups of people are not able to work together for the common good, or sometimes, even define what might be the common good.
In her book, Who Do We Choose to Be: Facing Reality, Claiming Leadership, Restoring Sanity, Margaret Wheatley says, “Given the depths of what stories can reveal, stories circulating in an organization or community have more critical information than any data set or analytics can ever illuminate as leaders. It is a critical skill to be aware of your organization’s stories. And once they are visible to you, what do you do next? You create the conditions for people to consciously choose which story they want to live into.” (207)
We all live into some story or stories, narratives that make sense of our world and shape how we respond. The critical question is which story or stories will we live into. Jesus invites us to live in the story, the narrative of the People of God, which contradicts many of the stories in our culture. It is a narrative where all people are equal, respected, and loved. It is a story where everyone has enough to not only survive but thrive. It is a story where we are called to act not just in our own interest, but in the interest of others and of the larger community. It is not the predominant story circulating in our culture today.
But we always have a choice to decide which story we are going to live in.
What story will you choose in this New Year?