My word never comes easy.
It usually takes a couple days past the Epiphany for
me to find mine. Thank goodness I have colleagues
who make “star word Sunday” a practice in their
communities and their own lives to help me along the
way. Usually, I end up where I started, and that is
a blog by Rev. Marci Glass, who is the pastor of
Southminster Presbyterian Church in Boise, Idaho.
She has done this for many years and has numerous
posts to help discover what our star words could be.
You can get to her website here.
Unlike in years past, my word came quickly to me
this year. For whatever reason, the word that kept
coming back to me in nearly every component of my
life (or the things I’m a part of) was the word
I am free to be me.
To be free to be me means to live from my goodness
and belovedness. It means that I don’t have to
compete to be something other than myself. I don’t
have to twist or contort myself to fit the image of
others to be valued and loved. God doesn’t need
another Tom Brady, Mother Teresa, or, well, Jesus.
God created me to be me.
For me, that truth is freeing. To be free in Christ
means to be live as our True Self and not from the
False Self. To be me means to live freely—to leave
all that gets in the way of me living as God’s
beloved child, Adam.
Already I have had to return to my star word a lot.
We are only 19 days into the new year, and I’ve lost
sight of my star a few times. Grace abounds, thank
goodness, and eventually, I rediscover what it means
to be free. Our spiritual journey is one that sends
us through the green pastures of spring, moving us
alongside those empty creek beds in the deserted
places of summer, opening us up to the gentle
letting go of autumn, and bringing us to the
inevitable silencing stillness of the bleak
midwinter—all of which leads to the promised land of
what it means to be free in Christ--restoration. The
freedom that Christ offers is one of leaving and
arriving, dying and living—responding to Christ’s
invitation to “come and see.”
In some ways, our spiritual journey
is discovering what it means to be free in Christ.
Essentially this is what the early desert mothers
and fathers were doing when they left everything and
went to the desert to free themselves from the
expectations of the world to find their freedom in
Christ. Unfortunately, not all of us have this kind
of freedom. Still, their movement is something we
can integrate into our own spiritual disciplines.
While we may not be able to take up shop in a small
hut somewhere in Kickapoo Park, we can set aside
time and space to detach from our egos,
personalities, expectations to reconnect with the
inner Christ—our True Self.
We have a lot of demands for our attention in our
lives. And we know the pressure that comes with
these demands. I love what Thomas Merton says about
those early Christians in the wilderness as people
“who did not believe in letting themselves be
passively guided and ruled by a decadent state,” who
didn’t wish to be ruled or to rule. Merton says that
they primarily sought their “true self, in Christ”;
to do so, they had to reject “the false, formal
self, fabricated under social compulsion ‘in the
world.’ They sought a way to God that was uncharted
and freely chosen, not inherited from others who had
mapped it out beforehand.” (Thomas Merton, The
Wisdom of the Desert (New Directions: 1960), 5-6.}
I am free to be me.
Who knew that it could be so challenging!?
We are an Epiphany people—a light revealed to the
nations and promise that God is leading us to a
place of renewal, recreation, and resurrection.
Even if it doesn’t come easy.
Adam Quinn, Pastor at First
Presbyterian Church in Lincoln