By Carrie Dubay...
I grew up in a church that was not very focused on liturgy. I was not aware of epiphany and lent as it related to my daily faith. And so it's been interesting as an adult to learn more about these are other important parts of the liturgical calendar.
I was intrigued when I heard about ‘star words’ for epiphany and honestly excited to participate. My star word is EMBRACE. When Kate drew it out of the bag for me, I confess I was relieved it wasn't Patience (which I learned after the fact was also in the bag of stars that day!)
*Sidebar: When I was a child, I remember hearing a sermon about never praying for patience unless you are really prepared for what God might throw your way. I'm pretty sure it was an attempt at humor but my nine year old brain internalized and never forgot what I took as a mandate of faith: "never pray for patience!!!" I can't let that go.
But getting back to my word. Embrace? I was thinking about what that word means and in the context of what this year has looked like. There has been so much that I've been grieving. The last thing I want to think about it is embracing it. I want to send it all away! I'm sure you can relate.
But knowing that receiving this word invites me to look deeper into my faith, I tried to reframe my thinking about the word and how it might have been intended for me. And so I prayed about how God my change my heart about embrace and 2021. And sure enough he is showing me that embrace is a word and a practice I am willing to "embrace!"
It is not easy but I'm really trying to embrace. On both a spiritual and physical level. EMBRACE: To accept what I cannot change about my situation. To support willingly and enthusiastically who I need.
To hold closely in my arm's those I love, who love me and need my physical embrace. To embrace from afar, those who are hurting but not yet ready for my touch. And to embrace spiritually, through prayer and petition for those who can't cry out for themselves.
Embrace is so much more than a feeling of affection or support. It's a quiet and intentional practice of faith. And it’s an act of Praise I'm asking God to show me how to embrace my current life, embrace my family and their needs, no matter that may look like. And to remember to:
“Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”
How do you feel about embracing 2021?