Today is Epiphany, the day the church marks the journey of the Magi to find Jesus. Every year in worship, we choose star words to follow, reflect on, ponder in the coming. year.
January 2020 seems like another lifetime somehow, but the word I drew last year was “overflowing”. It’s not an unknown word to me, since it is in the title of my blog. I have always loved the abundance of the word.
And 2020 sure overflowed, in ways good and bad.
I got a new knee, which has been such a blessing. I had been so hobbled with pain. and every step hurt. It feels like gift upon gift to be able to walk without pain now. Each hike, walk, step feels like gift now. Overflowing blessing to be able to walk again.
On Epiphany 2020, some members of a search committee were in worship at Southminster to see me lead worship and to meet with me. So much overflowing has arisen from that visit. I’m so thankful for the committee of Calvary that called me to be their pastor, and for the new congregation that has accepted me as their pastor, even if they haven’t been able to worship in the building with me. Their welcome and support has been overflowing. Moving to a new city in the middle of a pandemic may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it has reminded me to accept help, hospitality, and so many other things when they’ve been offered. My gratitude is overflowing.
Alongside the joy that overflowed with a new call was an equal amount of grief. Saying goodbye to the people of Southminster was brutally hard. They loved me so well and I’m so grateful for the twelve years we had together. In addition to that grief, my birth mother died in May, my dad died in July, and over 300,000 people have died in our country from Covid. We have lost so much this year, individually and collectively. Gathering in crowds, hugging our loved ones, concerts, plays, restaurants, travel. The list is long.
Early on in my ordained ministry, my family had critiqued my communion presiding. They said I needed more flourish and drama. So I poured from the pitcher into the chalice with flourish, and the juice went in one side of the cup and out the other. It splattered all over the communion table and all over me. The congregation let out a collective gasp as their new pastor made quite a mess. I continued with liturgy, adding, “welcome to the Table of God, where our cup overflows”. People laughed and the feast was shared.
I think about that as I think about this word. When something overflows, it can be a blessing, an abundance. It can also make a mess that is hard to deal with. I took my white silk stole to the dry cleaner the next day, but if you know where to look, you can still see the stain from where the juice overflowed the cup.
What overflowed for you in this past year?