I’m thinking a lot about the stories we tell and the mistakes we make about those stories. I don’t think most people really appreciate the profound working out of the words that casually escape from our lips. I know I don’t.Scheherazade was a character who spun the tales of one thousand and one nights to save her life. The story goes that the king would sleep with a different woman each night and then have her beheaded in the morning. But clever Scheherazade held him captive with the words of her stories. Each morning as the dawn listened in for the sound of Scheherazade’s voice, it found her still breathing out her stay of execution. Eventually the king was transformed by the stories and he came to love Scheherazade. There is something important in this story about stories. It reminds me of God, and the way his words are not just words. They create.
In the beginning, God spoke the heavens and earth into existence. His creative work is framed in the Bible as a result of his breath and his words. He saved the work of forming us last and declared that we were very good. We are very good because he says so. Like a divine Scheherazade, he spun a tale of goodness and love. And in this divine story he declares that we are not only good, but that we are made in his image. We are like him somehow, and I wonder if it’s not in this creative breathing and speaking.What would it mean for me to take seriously the stories I am telling every day? What would it mean for me to find the words that will save my life and the lives of the people around me? What would it mean for me to begin to declare goodness all around me just because I say so? It may be that we are all creating a world in our own image every day that we live. We can speak a toxic poison or a loving balm. Which of these stories have I been telling?