Who *Am We? An Occasional Series

We are a congregation of individuals who together form one parish. Do we know who sits in the pew next to us or two rows back? Probably both people we know and ones we don’t. Colin Mathewson has an idea to help us have a better idea of who we are at St. Paul’s. Finding out who we are will help us know who we am.

Did you see the “Seven Billion Others” show at the Museum of Photographic Arts? The goal was to make a video “portrait” of humanity—a mosaic of people from all over the world to show what it means to be human in all its facets.

Colin hopes we can make a St. Paul’s portrait by telling our individual stories and thus create a more detailed portrait of *our collective self.

Sounds good. Leads me to think about why we need stories and why we need to tell them, which leads to . . . well, a story, a story I heard from Tsonakwa, an Abenaki storyteller who came to San Diego years ago. This story stuck with me.

A man who walked the Good Red Road left his peaceful village to hunt and was gone for many years. When he returned, his village no longer walked the Road and no longer lived in harmony. Everyday the man went out to talk about love and peace.

No one paid him any mind.

One day a young man approached and said, “Old man, why do you do this everyday? No one listens. No one will change. Go home.”

The old man responded, “I don’t do it to change them. I do it so I will remember.”

We’ll tell our stories so we don’t forget who we are and who we belong to: stories of our journeys of faith leading to St. Paul’s, stories about trust in God and the thin places in our lives

where we’ve experienced God’s presence and message to us, stories about how our collective and individual lives touch others.

Like Elijah, we probably often find that presence in the still small voice rather than in the mighty wind.

Now for the scary part (for me)—I’ll be forced to slip out of my introvert persona and will be looking for people to interview. Or you can rescue my shy self and offer to tell me your story. You’re invited to share your tale of blustery days or gentle breezes; fantastic journeys or baby steps; the trials and blessings that provide a glimpse of the presence of God.

And I, for one, can’t wait to get to know you better as we discover who we are and who we am as God’s own.

Cindy Schuricht has been a member of St. Paul’s for about ten years. She reviews children’s books in her blog www.hundredbookpileup.com .

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