Reverend Gibson was inspired by a purpose statement from the poet and memoirist Mary Karr. Karr, the best-selling author who candidly shares the story of her life – from earthy Texas native, to teacher, to struggling addict, to eventually becoming fully alive – living a life of faith. Karr writes, “Having devoted the first half of my life to the dark, I feel obliged to revere any pinpoint of light now.” Her purpose statement sums up why people are drawn to her stories and gives us a connection to this week’s gospel lessons. This week’s lessons, being Jesus’ apocalyptic instructions and lessons to his disciples to patiently wait and stay awake in order to be vigilantly aware of finding the “light” in the darkness around them.
Mary Karr’s re-telling of her earthly struggles and on-going redemption have inspired many fans and lifted them up emotionally and spiritually.
This type of story-telling of our lives can be a powerful exercise in our own journey of faith. What stories do you have of God or someone else renewing and reviving you from a dark time or situation? What gifts or acts have you received which helped you overcome a barrier or tragedy? There is real power in the act of curation of our own stories chronicling the recurring pattern of God in our lives.
The structure of our own stories is usually something like:
• We awaken in darkness
• We come into an awareness of our vulnerability and powerlessness
• We arrive at an understanding o our need for the saving power of God
• We find ourselves living in the light of God’s promises and living as God’s own people awaiting his return
Perhaps the structure is formulaic, but it’s also a compelling narrative that can be a device to replenish our spiritual lamps, renew our faith, and remind us to stay awake to recognize the signs of God’s love and grace when he reveals himself to us in our daily lives. So, this Advent, hit the rewind and play buttons on your “stories,” share them with loved ones, and more importantly, share your heroic journey of darkness to light with someone else who might need the inspiration.