I believe human beings are story tellers by nature. (Though I tell you with a blush, that may just be because I am at heart a storyteller, and I was raised by storytellers.) We relate our experiences. We relate our parents’ experiences. We relate our grandparents experiences. Some of us begin to relate the things we make up in our head.
Some scholars refer to us humans as Homo Narrans to distinguish us from other hominids; we’re the ones who tell stories. We no sooner started telling them around the fire, than we started recording them on walls in the form of pictures, passing on our experience and hard won knowledge. We never stopped, and we just keep finding new media in which to record them.
This morning I stood in church and listened to the long one on which my faith is based, the Passion of Christ. It is the first preaching, the story the first followers told when they spread out across the world to spread the word.
Other stories spread too, often ones Jesus Himself told, some He often appears to make up on the fly to illustrate His teaching. Great storyteller was Jesus. They and others were collected into books; the books were collected into The Book we call the Bible. Later came arguments about the meaning of the stories out of which grew theological disputes and doctrine. But it began with people telling the stories.
There was a second story this morning. This one full of cheering crowds and Hosanna! Next Sunday we’ll tell yet another one, Alleluias that time. That’s the way with stories: gloom and joy, dark and light, good and evil, our best and our worst. The better the story, the more likely it is to contain both.
We call the people who tell them many things: prophet, mage, biographer, jester, apostle, historian, comedian, playwright, evangelist, romance novelist… This romance novelist has stories to tell, and if I manage to plumb the depths of humanity in the telling there will be dark as well as light. A writer can hope. I’d better get to it. But first, coffee.