Year C, Proper 26
This week is short by necessity. In sports lingo, I need to take a bye, a week of rest. But I did not want to leave you high and dry with no stories to contemplate at all.
Here are three stories I found that resonate with the texts, particularly with Isaiah 1 and Luke 19. And, of course, you have the superb story of Zaccheus to tell this week
The stories below come from my love of Isaiah 1:18 and the Zaccheus story. “Come now, let us argue it out, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool” (Isaiah 1:18). Though Isaiah speaks to the whole nation of Israel and Jesus speaks to one tax collector the message from God is the same. “Be in relationship with me. Let us “argue it out”, let us reason together! Come live your life with God. Let me show you my ways again.”
- Storyteller, Robert Bela Wilhelm, suggests the story of St. Francis and the wolf of Gubbio as an echo or illumination of the Zaccheus story. In this story St. Francis of Assisi tames a marauding wolf who is preying upon a village and its livestock. The people of Gubbio feared the wolf as the people of Jericho must of feared the tax collector, Zaccheus, who preyed upon their livelihood with exorbitant taxes. You can here Bob tell the story, The Wolf of Gubbio on sound cloud.
- The Small Miracle is a Hasidic tale of the great Rabbi Baal Shem Tov. It holds unique imagery of dialogue with God through the dealings of the Rabbi with a poor farmer and his wife. This version of the story is by Kathleen Mavournin, a colleague of mine in the Storyfest Guild of Sacred Storytelling. We both apprenticed with Bob Wilhelm.
- Finally I offer the story, How I Learned to Study Torah, adapted by storyteller, Doug Lipman. This is another Hasidic tale about a young boy who resists studying Torah with all his might until he learns the essence of Torah, being in relationship with God, from a famous rabbi.
Blessings on your story journey this week,
©Jane Anne Ferguson, 2016 and beyond. Commentary and photos may be reprinted only with permission. Please tell the stories!
*The picture of St. Francis and the Wolf of Gubbio is a carving from Santa Maria della Vittorio in Gubbio, Italy.
*The picture of the rabbi and child is titled “Learning Torah” and was painted by Russian artist, Elena Floreva in 1943.