I used ‘Star Words’ with my congregations once again this year. I am starting my third year of Interim Ministry with them. The word I drew my first year was daring, what a perfect word for the start of interim ministry! You can read about it here. The second year, my word was understanding. That didn’t resonate quite so strongly as daring had, but as we moved deeper into ministry together and inevitable conflicts, tensions and misunderstandings arose, it reminded me (most of the time) to stop and listen to what was not being said as well as what was on the surface.
This year I drew ‘prayer’ at the first of two services. I was not enthralled with it at all. I am intermittent in my personal prayer practice… even a much loved photography practice has been more challenging after cataract surgery, I struggle to write pastoral prayers each week, often adapting something from RevGalBlogPals. So, I cheated a bit… when I went to the service at my second church, I drew another, it was ‘education.’ I have a love of life long learning and take advantage of every opportunity that my time and wallet will allow, however, it still didn’t have the sense of it being the right word for me.
So, I did what I tell my congregation, I have to sit with the word for a week before I can go back and choose another one. So, I sat with prayer this week and we all know what happened don’t we?
The next day, I was writing notes on my Epiphany letter to the people on the congregational lists, which had started out to be a Christmas letter, but you know, Christmas! I started by writing notes to those who are actively engaged in the life and work of the churches, this was both practical and fairly easy. I wanted to write something that was personal, so spent quite a bit of time remembering how we had interacted over the past year as I wrote. Then I moved on to those who are on our congregational lists, but who may only show up at Christmas and Easter, or times of crisis. And as an interim minister, I couldn’t even put a name and a face together with some of them. As I struggled to write a note on these, something happened. I found myself praying for those who were only names… I wondered how they came to be on our lists… what was going on in their lives now… had church been an important part of their life at one point but now no longer was… I prayed that no matter where they were on life’s journey that they would know the light of God’s love. And suddenly, my star word seems perfect!
And that’s my window on God’s world.