Your Origin Story

When I was about six years old, I used to hang out with friends on the street. I remember being with my best friend, Guy, in the middle of a Connecticut summer, which could get very humid and hot. We were moping around, not feeling very energetic. Guy said to me, Remember the good old days when we used to… I answered, Yeah, remember when… It would go on like that as we recalled the fun things we used to do in the past. At six years old!

Nostalgia. I suppose it’s part of human nature. People like to take a walk down memory lane, especially when they want to avoid what is transpiring in the present.

Like nostalgia, a good origin story seems to be about the past. But there’s a difference. Being nostalgic is being sentimental about the way things used to be. It is a fondness for the form of things in the past and wishing they were still present today.

An origin story is about the creative energy that began a cycle of life. It is about the initiating vision and power behind that cycle. And if the cycle is ongoing, the origin story is not just about the past. It reminds us of the source of vision and power that is present now. That’s why such stories are so inspiring.

On Thursday, February 27, 2020, Kari Jobe and Cody Carnes spent several hours with two pastors of their church, composing a song based on Old Testament scripture. They performed the song that Sunday. It became known as The Blessing. Here are the lyrics from the song:

The Lord bless you and keep you,
Make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you.
The Lord turn His face toward you
And give you peace.

May His favor be upon you
And a thousand generations,
And your family and your children,
And their children, and their children. 

May His presence go before you
And behind you, and beside you,
All around you, and within you.
He is with you, He is with you.

In the morning, in the evening,
In your coming, and your going
In your weeping, and rejoicing
He is for you, He is for you. 

Amen, amen, amen
Amen, amen, amen.

On March 20, 2020, Kari and Cody released The Blessing as a single. It became nominated for a Grammy Award and won the Gospel Music of America award as the Song of the Year.

On January 7, 2020, China identified and isolated a new type of coronavirus that became known as COVID-19. By March 26, 2020—only 26 days after The Blessing was first performed—the United States had more cases of COVID-19 than any other country in the world. Worldwide, over 6 million people died from the pandemic.

During the pandemic, The Blessing was recorded by more than 100 virtual choirs around the world—from Australia to Mexico to Singapore to Zimbabwe. There is The Arab World Blessing and The Blessing from Ukraine. And there is a virtual choir performing it with people from all around the world.

The Blessing lifted the hearts of people during the pandemic, bringing faith and hope to humankind in a challenging time.

I haven’t seen a performance of the song that wasn’t heart-stirring. But this past Saturday, I found a video of Kari and Cody’s original performance as they introduced the song. It was to their church congregation on Sunday, March 1, just three days after they wrote it. As far as I know, they weren’t thinking about the pandemic.

The song is on YouTube, and as of today, it has had 104 million views. This first performance contains the origin story for the song. And you can feel the inspiration that has uplifted people ever since. In that sense, the original inspiration is timeless. It hasn’t gone anywhere.

Comic book fans know that the best superhero editions are origin stories. They tell how the superhero gained their powers—how Spiderman gained his spidey-sense and Batman his strength and speed. The best Superman movie is the 1978 version that tells of how he came from the planet Krypton, with Marlon Brando speaking to him as his father, and how he gained his superpowers—X-ray vision, flight, and superhuman strength.

What is your origin story? Did your mother or father ever tell the story of your birth? Or do you ever tell the story of an important awakening in your life?

And what is our origin story as humankind? Barbara Marx Hubbard used to speak of how we originated from the Big Bang and are evolving to higher and higher complexity, higher order, and greater freedom of choice. This is an origin story from a scientific perspective. It was hard not to feel enthusiastic when you heard Barbara speak of it.

When I think of the small band of friends who, in 1945, moved the headquarters of Emissaries of Divine Light from an office building in Loveland, Colorado, to the property that became Sunrise Ranch, I feel such love and appreciation. And when I see movie footage of them in those early days, it moves me to tears. They had very little money. There was very little here but a barn, a ranch house, and a few outbuildings. But their love, grit, and commitment saw them through. That is one of the origin stories for the place I live and the mission I serve.

I also think of Lloyd Arthur Meeker as a young man of 25, living in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1932. As he told the story, he was restless one night in September. He began to write, and a higher truth than what he had known flowed through his pen. The room filled with what seemed like an illuminated cloud.

This happened on three successive nights. That is how Emissaries of Divine Light was born. And it was then that he adopted the name Uranda. That is the origin story for this ministry.

The origin story for the faith of 56% of the world’s population—Christians, Muslims, and Jews—goes back to the story of Abraham. Because of its impact on global history and the culture of today, you might even say it is an origin story for the faith journey of the entire world.

In about 2,000 B.C., Abraham lived in what was perhaps the largest city of the world in that day—Ur, in Mesopotamia, near the mouth of the Euphrates River on the Persian Gulf. From there, he left with his family to Haran, in modern-day Turkey, near its border with Syria.

The time came when he felt a great urge to leave the place that had become familiar to him and to go to the land of Canaan, modern-day Israel—to leave his father and the country where he lived. He felt huge possibilities calling him and heard the promise from the Divine that he and his descendants would be a blessing to all families and all nations of the world. And so he went walkabout and embraced a semi-nomadic way of life in a new land.

It was Abraham who rejected the superstitious practices of ancient peoples and chose to no longer engage in the practice of human sacrifice. He embraced the One God and welcomed Melchizedek, the King of Peace.

This is an origin story for all humankind if we will accept it. Its original inspiration—the urge to leave a fearful way of being and embrace a destiny of being a blessing to the world—is as present today as ever. It is timeless.

And now, to perhaps the greatest origin story of all, the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. There is the story of his birth, when the Christmas angel echoed the promise given to Abraham:

Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

Luke 2:10 

And then there is the story of his teaching of love and oneness:

That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us….

John 17:21

This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

John 15:12,13

And there is the story of his willingness to endure almost anything to bring the gift he had to give to the world.

If we trace the history of what came after any of these origin stories, we find adventures, challenges, and even failures and aberrations in what followed. In many ways, Christians haven’t embraced what Jesus brought to the world. Muslims haven’t always followed the promise given to Abraham, that his descendants would be a blessing to all families and all nations. And Emissaries of Divine Light have not always lived up to Uranda’s illuminated vision. That is why we tell origin stories—to remind us where we come from, to recall the timeless source of the life we live and the destiny we follow.

This is not nostalgia for what was. It is a celebration of what is at the very heart of us and of what our life is about.

So, tell the story of your origin. Claim its timeless inspiration as your own now.

Notify of

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Fiona Gawronsky
Fiona Gawronsky
May 1, 2024 7:19 am

I also have an origin, a destiny along with the lineage of mankind. I know I was compelled to be here. From the moment of my conception to my birth and life-story. And, as I have travelled through life, I have seen the thread, like an amazing script! David has now given us the big picture, a context, the over-arching cycle.

Thank you David.

Fiona Gawronsky
Fiona Gawronsky
May 1, 2024 7:00 am

Looking back at my own origin, I can trace my destiny. It traces as a thread all along, like a script. I was meant to be here! In fact, I was compelled. From an unanticipated pregnancy, to a pre-mature birth for a start, something has been in motion. I have had a consciousness of things from a surprisingly tender age. There is a deep knowing attached to our true origins.

I love this consideration.

April 25, 2024 9:51 pm

Thank you, David. As I ponder origin stories I remember my parents telling me about their experiences through two world wars and the Great Depression. They said that during those days neighbours helped each other in any way possible and the spirit of love was palpable. The wars frightened them and the depression challenged them tremendously, but the love that surrounded them comforted and inspired them to meet life day to day. As I recall these stories I am reminded that I can also choose to express courage, strength and love through my own challenges. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

Jerry Kvasnicka
Jerry Kvasnicka
April 25, 2024 4:40 pm

I trace my spiritual origin to some words on a page of a book that was handed to me in 1970 shortly after I had contacted a place called Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO. The words on page 13 simply read: “You are divine. This is the truth for you. But it remains meaningless on earth until you know it. Knowing is the state of realized experience, and this occurs as your divine nature is given expression in thought, word and deed.” These words changed my life then and there, and I’ve spent the rest of my life seeking to reveal my divine nature in living.

April 24, 2024 11:19 pm

I agree, origin stories are poignant, long lasting and speak of truth in the journey to knowing and oneness. Origin stories move forward into the now of our presence.
We each have a vibrant story that speaks of the timeless inspiration of our source of being of awakening to our origins. In our sharing comes the words, we are here, now, to give our gifts of knowing, living and loving of those who inspired, and inspire us to bring our gifts of presence.
Thank you, David,for your beautiful
gift of presence in this meditation.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x