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The Story Collective

I saw a clip some time back about a writer in New York who announced a few years ago that she was publishing a 2,095-word short story called “Skin.”  What made her announcement interesting was that she was not publishing her story on paper or online but on skin … one word per person.  Participants who agreed to be tattooed were randomly assigned words from her text until all 2,095 words were assigned.  The story was never published on paper — only on the people who agreed to being tattooed with the words.  From then on, the author referred to those people as words, and the collection of them is the story.

When I heard about it, I immediately thought about how God works among us.  First of all, His image is stamped into each of us … we bear the image of God like a tattoo.  God also brands each of us with a purpose; its like a word spoken over our lives that gives us meaning and purpose.  And he has so designed things that when our word is combined with other words, a story forms, a story that points to God.  When we come together and organize our words into a structure, we become a story that teaches other people about God.

None of us tells the story alone.  It takes all of us together to tell it.  We are the words … or if you prefer, the pieces of a mosaic … or the stones of a house.  That’s the way Peter described it.  He says in one of his letters to the Church that we are like “living stones being built into a spiritual house … to be a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that [we] may declare the praises of him who called [us] out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

Peter says, “Once [we] were nobodies, but now [we] are the people of God.”  In other words, it’s God who speaks value into our lives and when we come together that value increases … because we are worth more together than we are when we’re on our own.  The prophet Hosea really got it that the collection of God’s people is important.  He is the one who said of the people of Israel, “Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God.”

What if every collection of believers (every church) was like a chapter in the story of God, called to live out part of his story on earth?  And what if each of us was like a word within that story that helps to speak it into the world?

If that’s true, then your gifts, your service, your participation is important.  Without you, we can’t tell our part of the story.

Carolyn Moore

I follow Jesus.

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Holiness is at least this: a design of life that exposes us most fully to the heart of a good, loving and creative God.