Many times, I ask the question if there is a difference between a story and a myth. Modern language classifies a myth as something imagined, not real, a story of lore that people created to answer a question. In olden times, a myth represented a truth, something that occurred in the past to explain why or how something occurred and what the meaning was.
A story, on the other hand, creates a remembrance of an historical past, sometimes fancified to make a point, sometimes sanctified to create an ism. A story can be true or fiction, can instruct or amuse, but will always make a point. I see the similarity.
When I read the Bible, the first story we read, hear, and are taught, is the story of Adam and Eve. Is this a true story, a mythical story, or just something someone created to explain the relationship between God and man? There were no cameras in the garden, nor were there scribes writing everything down. Is the story of the Garden of Eden true or myth? That, my friends, is up to you and how you believe.
I can tell you a story of my life; I lived it, experiencing every event as I remember it. How much is true and how much is imagined we may never be known. Even the memory of these events changes over time in my mind. I ask if a certain element is true or has my current situation altered my definition of what occurred. Is my life a story or a myth?
Is God a myth? Well, if I think of it as the ancients did, I say no, God is not a myth. The story of God and His relationship with humanity is especially important to me. However, I do not take all of the stories literally; the scribes who wrote the words in our Bible were describing things as they learned them, stories handed down through the centuries; all stories are important to me. Are they true? To me some are absolutely true, but some are what I would call modern day myths that are related to bring my thinking into what I refer to as spiritual enlightenment. All stories in the Bible have a meaning to me, whether myth or fact. The messages contained in them are as true today as several thousand years ago.
And to be perfectly honest, spiritual enlightenment itself may be a myth in my own mind. When I read the story of Jesus in the Garden before His arrest, however, I cry. I can feel and hear the anguish in His voice as He asks Abba if this cup can be taken from Him. This is not a myth; this is a human begging his father for relief from what is to come. It is something I have asked God many times; but as with Jesus, God lifts me from my anguish and heals me, bringing me into a new life.
My Bible contains 84 books, including the Apocrypha; each is a unique story, and within each are many stories; myths? Maybe, but stories that I revisit daily because there is truth in their telling.
The period of Lent is fast upon us. We revisit our own journey in the desert during this time; our forty days are for us for self-examination, repentance, and returning to the heart of God. We relate to the temptations and loneliness that Jesus experienced. We are all Jesus in the wilderness.
We emulate Jesus in this time to attain our destinies, or at least as far as our earthly existence permits. We are as broken as Jesus was in these days; our healing by God confirms that we are at one with Him and all of His creation. – if we are to become truly whole, unbroken units – we must feel and know ourselves to be one, not only with God and humanity, but also with nature. Our hearts open to love all of humanity, all of God’s creation.
Just as Jesus was named as God’s son after baptism by John, we are named as God’s children when Jesus rises from His tomb to live within us.