Flashback Friday: The Gospel Truth

Read from the beginning… We are all of us the preacher too, in one sense, and we would all do well to reacquaint ourselves with the silence that is, the silence that speaks into the silence that isn’t. One way we do this, Buechner tells us, is by listening to our lives. All of it (34): the tragedy, the comedy, and the fairy tale. Your car that was stolen, your marital affair, your friend who betrayed you, the iPhone you own but can’t afford, the self-righteousness you feel about someone else’s affair, materialism, tax-collecting… that is the tragedy. And the comedy is that part which is both your wedding day and the day you fall in the toilet because he left the seat up, both “a kind of terrible funniness and of a happy end to all that is terrible” (6).Finally, we must listen to our lives within the overarching framework of fairy tale. Because the tragic and the comic isn’t all that’s there. The fairy tale is the spell lifted and the Beast becoming on the outside the handsome prince he had become on the inside; it is the beautiful step-sisters whose feet turned out to be too fat and ugly like the sisters were in their hearts; it is those moments in our lives when we give to the least of these in spite of ourselves because we climbed up the tree a cold opportunist and climbed down a caring, and cared for, philanthropist.

This listening to life—our own lives and the lives of others, the darkness and joyousness and impossible possibility of transformation into newness that we all share—listening to all of it in the silence before we finally but restlessly fall asleep or start our car or pour our coffee; and listening to the rustling of our tossing and turning, the cranking of the engine, the brewing of our coffee… this listening enables us to tell the truth. Read the rest.

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