Everyone who ever went to a St. Hilda’s school (and I am told by Lynne Allen, the former head of one of them, there are many) will be delighted with yesterday’s outcome. I confess to being hugely surprised that Hilda defeated Harriet Tubman — but such is the way of Lent Madness.
Today’s match-up between Luke the Evangelist and Dorothy Day had me going back and forth, on-the-one-hand thissing and on-the-other-hand thatting. I finally had to ask what would be lost if either one of them hadn’t existed. A reverse of that appeared on facebook yesterday, a short video which I felt compelled to share, asking us to imagine if Martin Luther King, Anne Frank, Matthew Shepherd, Yitzak Rabin, and others had lived how different would the world be today. It made me weep…
But to reach today’s decision I asked “what would be lost had there been no Luke the Evangelist or Dorothy Day?” The Catholic Worker movement and a legacy of commitment to social justice vs the story of the Prodigal Son, the Good Samaritan, and the sending of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost (all of which are unique to Luke/Acts). Seen in that light I have to go with Luke, much as I admire Dorothy Day. There are other examples of following Jesus Christ by embracing social justice (Liberation Theology comes to mind) but the world would, IMHO, be the poorer without Luke’s stories. Having just preached a dialogue sermon on the Prodigal Son during which I saw, yet again, how profoundly people connect with the characters in that story (including the fatted calf!) is testimony to how powerful those stories are.
Our senior warden, Robin Lawrie, has titled her latest blog post “God loves a story.” She quotes Elie Wiesel who in turn quoted a Hasidic parable: “God created man because He loves a good story.” You can read the full posthere and if you wander through other pages on that blog, Tending the Garden, you’ll find vestry reports and other interesting tidbits about our life as a community at St. Stephen’s. I do believe that without stories our lives would be meaningless. Think of the way we look back on our own lives: we find themes and threads and ultimately seek meaning. How often do we hear “everything happens for a reason”? That is the beginning of story, of narrative– seeking meaning from seemingly random events. Without story, without narrative, life IMHO would just be one damn thing after another. Among the four Evangelists Luke is the master storyteller and my life would be the poorer without him.
To vote, go here — and do pause to enjoy the richness of kitsch the SEC of Lent Madness has fiendishly dredged up for our enjoyment today!