I’ve never been much for new year’s resolutions – they always seemed a bit fake and contrived. For the past few years I’ve chosen a word as my intention for the year a la Christine Kane. It has been a holy practice for me that has helped me to focus and slow down. Last year’s word – enough – reminded me to trust myself and trust the One who created me – faults and all.
This past year one of my colleagues shared a practice she has used in her church on Epiphany. Apparently, it is a tradition in the Orthodox church to be given a star with a word on it on the day that marks the arrival of the Magi. It is a way of creating space and seeking God’s intention through the use of a ordinary word. I placed the stars (lovingly hand made!) into brown paper sacks that were passed around and selected without looking. It was so fun to watch the bags being passed as I shared a couple of stories about words and ways to use them.
I had to giggle when I looked at my word – Neighbor. How fitting for a Presbyterian pastor whose congregation most likely tires of hearing her preach about loving God and loving neighbor. Funny God, funny.
I’m not sure where this word will take me this year. I plan to journal a bit about it tomorrow. I’ll look it up in my grandma’s copy of Merriam-Websters Collegiate Dictionary. I’ll ponder it as I read those biblical passages again about being a neighbor (I really do think that is fundamental to our faith).
I’m excited to see how this practice impacts others. My favorite comment after worship was from a middle schooler who received the word obedience. Sigh. I told him to be open to how God might want him to understand that word as his mom stood by and grinned.
Happy new year, all!