Keepers of the People

In these mid-November days, I’m reading about the importance of storytelling in Ireland and Scotland, and how it historically has shaped (and continues to shape) a Celtic worldview.

Stories were seen as so powerful that a storyteller invited into a home was said to bring good luck to the dwelling, and they were often paid well for their stories.

Entertainment. Knowledge. Skill and art. Stories and the tellers of them were seen to impart all of these.

But more than that, storytellers were the “keepers of the people.” They remembered the history and, when they told the story, re-membered those listening into that long thread of history.

It’s a shame that storytelling isn’t practiced much as a profession any longer. It’s one of the things that I love about preaching: it’s a chance to tell a (hopefully) good story.

And also a chance to re-member ourselves to one another around a common tale, if just for a moment.

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