Words that Create Community

“Do it for the story.” That’s one phrase I will never forget from my college buddy Jason Clark’s book Surrendered and Untamed. I’ve been thinking a lot about that idea lately. As we journeyed across the country, moving from New York to California I kept mulling the phrase over in my mind. Last week at summer camp, I told some of the kids who were scared of going on the zip line, “Do it for the story.” There’s something about those words that captured my imagination, but I wasn’t quite sure what it was. Then, the other day while reading a devotional, author Henri J.M. Nouwen brought it all together for me. Why experiences? Why stories? Here’s why …

“The word is always a word for others. Words need to be heard. When we give words to what we are living, these words need to be received and responded to. A speaker needs a listener. A writer needs a reader.

“When the flesh – the lived human experience – becomes word, community can develop. When we say, ‘Let me tell you what we saw. Come and listen to what we did. Sit down and let me explain to you what happened to us. Wait until you hear whom we met,’ we call people together and make our lives into lives for others. The word brings us together and calls us into community. When the flesh becomes word, our bodies become part of a body of people. (Bread for the Journey, Henri J.M. Nouwen)

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