April 5, 2008

telling our story

My friend Kari posted this link on her facebook site: Dith Pran - Last Word. It's about 6 minutes long, but it's the story of a man who survived the labor camps of Cambodia and has spent his whole life reminding people of his people's story. He worked with a NYT reporter and has been a photographer there for over 25 years.

His determination in telling his story got me to thinking about how often we claim our own story... and more than that, how often we share it with other people. Who we are is largely determined by where we have come from, the things we have been through, the hope and the drive that leads us into the future.

As people of faith, we talk about the Christian story, within the church, but we rarely share it with others. We also rarely see it as "our" story. It's history, it's the past, it's something to learn about, but not something that is a part of us.

The truth is, we have come from somewhere. And there have been so many steps on the journey since then. Often we pretend like the bible comes straight from the first century of the common era straight to our ears and eyes and lips. But it doesn't. There is a journey to be told.

And not all of that journey and story is something we should be proud of. But we need to remember our past. We need to remember our history. And we need to live towards the future with all of that in mind.

Dith Pran closes the last part of the feature by urging us not to repeat the past. That one time is too many. That one event like what happened in Cambodia is too much. We cannot prevent or stop genocides like those in Darfur or the struggles in other parts of the world if we do not remember what happened before. We can do nothing if we can't remember that others have taken this path before. And as Christians, as people who believe deeply in the power of love and reconciliation and the redemption of all things, we need to remember our own calling and be agents for change and healing in the world. We need to remember Pran's story and search out others who are currently experiencing what he has tried so hard to prevent.

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