Wed., June 13, 2018
Mark 13:31 – Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will certainly not pass away.
Recently, I read two autobiographies written by two people who grew up very different from my upbringing.
J.D. Vance wrote Hillbilly Elegy. He grew up poor in the Ohio Rust Belt in a town that was hemorrhaging jobs and hope. His parents struggled with addiction nearly all of his life. Mostly raised by his grandparents who never completed high school, J.D. writes an almost unbelievable story of how a boy who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks eventually graduated from Yale Law School. Even as he has tried to achieve the American dream, he struggled with his socioeconomic background. It is a very interesting story of the brokenness and strengths of the white working class.
Educated is written by Tara Westover. It is her story of surviving a unique family. Born in 1986 to Idaho survivalists, she was 17 when she set foot for the first time in a classroom. Eventually, she saw there was more beyond the mountains where she lived and taught herself enough to take the ACT and was admitted to Brigham Young University. Only then did she begin to discover the world in which she lived and had left, only to question if there was still a way home.
As I have read these books, I have reflected upon my story: the assumptions I made about life based on where and how I was raised, the influence my parents had in my life and how I viewed opportunities around me. Yes, I grew up very different from J.D. and Tara. Yet, their memoirs have allowed for some self-reflection on my part.
Maybe, their stories have encouraged some reflection about Jesus’ story. His memoirs are captured not by himself, but by others. We hear four different accounts of his life, written by four different authors in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Each story reflects upon Jesus’ life from a different perspective and written for a different audience. Yet, each story allows us to discover the time in which he walked the earth, how others reacted to him and what his purpose in coming to earth influenced his life.
Of course, his life is so different because, well, Jesus was God’s son. Jesus gave us a promise. Even if he was not here on earth, his words would not pass away. They would always be here. We have his words captured so we can read and re-read them in the gospel stories.
J.D. and Tara’s words are now also captured in such a way that they will never pass away. One reason I write is because sometimes it is easier for me to capture my thoughts through writing them. We each have a backstory. We each have a story of what is happening in our lives today. We each can be part of Jesus’ story and see how his words can influence our life today. And tomorrow.
For this, I am grateful.
How can we every thank you for inspiring people to write down the words and stories we find in scripture: words that hopefully encourage and comfort us. Some of these words may also confuse us. Yet, they show us how important words are and how we learn through stories. Use our lives, our stories and words, to continue to learn and deepen our understanding of You, our Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer. Amen.
If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who will also enjoy it.