My Story Is Your Story | UMC YoungPeople
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February 2012

My Story Is Your Story

By Rori Blakeney (SEJ)

Recently, I created a mini river as a visual focal point for a sermon I preached. As the congregants entered the church, the chatter immediately turned to the river. Old and young alike were fascinated with the gushing sound of water. Most members stopped to examine the river. Some dipped their finger in the water. Others noticed the rocks, the greenery and frogs. Some even tried to identify the Biblical story that most suited the river and the other elements.

I think it was a hit. Engaging the congregation before the first note was played. There was not a word said, but people were talking. I often use visual elements when preaching. Some times they are a huge success and others time the idea falls flat.

But, I get another message as I was disassembling the river. As I felt the rocks I was reminded that My Story is Your Story. Yes, it’s February, the month we celebrate the witness of African Americans in the life of the United States of America. Many protest the idea of celebrating African American History. But, as I held the stones in my hand . . . it was crystal clear that our lives are woven together.

I remembered Joshua’s instructions to the Children of Israel found in Joshua 4
Jos 4:1 And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the LORD spake unto Joshua, saying,
Jos 4:2 Take you twelve men out of the people, out of every tribe a man,
Jos 4:3 And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests’ feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night.
Jos 4:4 Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man:
Jos 4:5 And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take you up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel:
Jos 4:6 That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones?
Jos 4:7 Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.

So as I held each of the stones in my palm, I recounted some of the great sacrifices, achievements of my people – African Americans. Yet, I could not help but know that My Story is Your Story because we are connected as one people of God. I encourage you to spend some time this Black History Month learning my story because it is your story also.