A Table Made Messy With Names


It’s still August, and I want to continue doing some storytelling throughout the month. As I think about that, I find myself pondering this… Sometimes, the small stories of our day carry a great deal of meaning. I’m learning to trust these and and more.

And by that, I mean that small, storied moments can carry us through when we’re looking for direction. They can give us sustenance when we’re experiencing a time of stress. Part of the trust involves expecting their arrival, even if you can’t predict which stories will show up.

Yesterday morning, I was finishing up my preparation for leading worship. All summer, I’ve been filling in at Northside Presbyterian Church in Ann Arbor (this opportunity has been such a gift) as their pastor and my good friend is experiencing a well-deserved Sabbatical. Just before leaving the house, an idea popped into my mind, and I decided to follow it. On my way out the door, I put some paper and colored pencils in a bag.

I had prepared a sermon based on this beautiful text from Paul,

“But we were gentle among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children. So deeply do we care for you that we were determined to share with you, not only the gospel of God, but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us.”
– 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8

We left some space during that sermon to voice aloud the names of people who have become very dear to us. People who have formed us… People whom we’ve participated in forming… as we’re all forming each other all the time.

But after voicing these names aloud, we had a time where we wrote down these names and placed them on the communion table. We made that table very messy with names! People turned the pages down, but you can see how many names were written, and with colored pencils strewn about too.

This is a small story that carries a lot of meaning.

Renee Roederer  I’ll be writing about small stories all week!

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