Blessing for the Place Between*
By Jan Richardson
When you come to the place between.
When you have left what you held most dear.
When you are traveling toward the life you know not.
When you arrive at the hardest ground.
May it become for you a place to rest.
May it become for you a place to dream.
May the pain that has pressed itself into you give way to vision, to knowing.
May the morning make of it an altar, a path, a place to begin again.
The start of spring semester! Welcome home! Or did you just say goodbye to home for another couple months? Or do you struggle with the geographical location that relates to that word, “home?”
The start of spring semester can be such an in-between place. As a freshman in college I remember being so excited to return to my “new home” at college. However, I also felt a bit guilty that I could associate that word, home, with somewhere other than where my childhood bedroom was located. I remembered the excitement that felt different than the fall semester. In the fall each year there was an excitement about the a new year, but also a wondering of what the place would be. In the fall, since each year one quarter of the student body shifted, the whole community almost had to be rediscovered. But the start of the spring semester felt like going to a place I knew, while also getting to have a new start.
The New Year’s resolutions that swirled around my brain January 1st were often tied to my hopes of the semester that lay ahead. I would be more organized, get more sleep, eat better food, not let email pile up, do all the reading, etc., etc., etc. Yet my journey would not always go as planned or as I would expect it. Often challenges and even doubts would arise sooner than I would like to admit.
As I think about journeys, the story of the wise ones from January 6th comes to mind. On January 6th, Christmas officially ended and Epiphany began. Epiphany’s start is marked with the wise ones coming to visit the new King of the Jews, the Christ child, and giving him gifts. The season of Epiphany is a journey of growing light and revelation of Christ in our world.
The wise ones were seekers and outsiders who felt called by a star to journey to a new discovery. They traveled without a map, but knowing that they had to seek out this new thing.
The wise ones who were non-Jewish, non-religious, seekers, and outsiders play an important role in Jesus’ story. When they encounter Jesus, most of the world was not aware of his birth except some shepherds. They remind us that Jesus is here for the seekers, the outsiders, the searching among us — and even in ourselves.
After their encounter with Jesus they went home another way. This was an act of defiance in the face of the unjust power of King Herod. The encounter with the Christ child changed their path. These wise ones were known to predict the future, yet even they were changed when Christ met them on their journey.
I have no idea what your new journey this semester might be, but don’t be surprised when Christ meets you in unexpected places and through unexpected people.
If you ever want to discuss your journey Pastor Jim or I would love talk. Feel free to “book us” with the links below.
Dcs. Kristin Lewis
Jan. 9, 2019
Pastor Jim and Deaconess Kristin take turns writing weekly devotions for the Chapel of the Resurrection. Contact them here:
*Jan Richardson from The Cure for Sorrow: A Book of Blessings for Times of Grief