Happy New Year! Now What?

One of my favorite authors is a woman named Jan Richardson. She writes in a way that shapes her words into pure inspiration. I find myself returning to her words again and again as I travel this journey of faith and life. A couple of years ago, Richardson lost her husband after a brief and complicated illness. Over the past couple of years, Richardson has explored her grief as she has wandered the path of love and loss and anger and sadness and resurrection. What I am most grateful for in Richardson’s words is her honest and straightforward heading as she has undertaken her own journey into the unknown, unplanned world she never expected to entertain. So…in celebration of the season of Epiphany – the appearing of the Magi and the overwhelming presence of the light of Christ upon the world – I leave you with these words, written by Richardson, as a blessing in these first days of the new year. May God bless your journeys – each and every step.

For Those Who Have Far to Travel ~ An Epiphany Blessing

If you could see the journey whole
you might never undertake it;
might never dare the first step
that propels you from the place
you have known toward the place you know not.

Call it one of the mercies of the road:
that we see it only by stages as it opens before us,
as it comes into our keeping step by single step.
There is nothing for it but to go and by our going take the vows the pilgrim takes:
to be faithful to the next step;
to rely on more than the map;
to heed the signposts of intuition and dream;
to follow the star that only you will recognize;
to keep an open eye for the wonders that attend the path;
to press on beyond distractions
beyond fatigue
beyond what would tempt you from the way.

There are vows that only you will know;
the secret promises for your particular path
and the new ones you will need to make
when the road is revealed by turns
you could not have foreseen.
Keep them, break them, make them again:
each promise becomes part of the path;
each choice creates the road that will take you to the place where at last you will kneel
to offer the gift most needed—
the gift that only you can give—
before turning to go home by another way.

May the light of the star over the manger shine light on a new road in this new year. To God be the glory!

Rev. Chris Marien

(This article was written for the January 2018 Newsletter).