Sunday Scribblings-New

At our church, Epiphany Sunday is celebrated with the distribution of stars. Baskets filled with gold cardboard stars are passed through the congregation, and every star has a word or phrase written on its face. Each person reaches in, picks a star, and with childlike anticipation turns it over to read "their word" for the new year. The church is always packed on Star Sunday - even more so than on Christmas Eve. After all, our minister always jokes, how often do you get to take something out of the collection plate?

"Grace," "Faith," "Retreat," "Serenity," "Courage," "Laughter," "Discipline"...occasionally you'll hear exclamations of mirth or wonder as people read these words they've chosen, for sometimes the meanings are uncannily appropriate.

Whatever your word, it represents a new idea, a new vision, a new way of looking at the world. Perhaps it can spark your interest in doing something new with your life. Perhaps it offers you a reminder to be strong, to have faith. Or it encourages you to dream big, to see beyond what's right in front of your eyes.

Many people carry their stars with them, tucked into compartments in purses or wallets. Some post them at their desk, or stick them on the refrigerator. Many of course, will take one look, and throw the star away.

The sermon title for today was "Looking Farther Than You Can See." Have a vision, our minister exhorted us. Look beyond what's happening today and dream about what tomorrow could be. He recounted the story of a group of college students who have built real homes from recycled trash materials -crushed cars, cardboard boxes, recycled rubber. "Where others saw garbage," he said, "these young people saw building blocks. They saw familiar things in a new way. That's vision."

Seeing familiar things in a new way. Looking farther than you can see.

Concepts worth pondering, I think.

(By the way---my star this year was "practice," a word which certainly applies to my musical life. We'll see what new practices apply to my life in general in 2008!)

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