Free-Star Word

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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 free.


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


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