Looking Back(star)ward

Epiphany is upon us again.

Begging a moment of meta… seriously, how have I become a person who writes “Epiphany is upon us again”?   yikes.

A year ago, I introduced the idea of Star words to FPC, a practice that I picked up via Marci and the RevGals.  No, they’re not a band, but gotta file that name away. I won’t rehash the origin story, since I’ve written that up here, where I talked about my first thoughts around that word.

I’ll be honest, I had no idea where I would find meaning in the world Liberty. And then I started paying a little more attention to the ways that I had taken a lot of freedom for granted.

I’m not talking about the way “freedom isn’t free” gets tossed around to remind us that people fought (and fight) in wars and serve as first responders and such to assure that I can feel free to live as I do.

I’m talking about the way that my freedom to live as I like is so very contingent upon my being white, educated, upper middle class, straight and American. And the way that all of that has been placed in sharp relief as the Black Lives Matter movement, the Tamir Rice killing (and lack of indictment), the Charleston tragedy, the dysfunctional conversations around the Civil War and flags and naming of buildings, and the anti-Muslim rhetoric have each in their turn shaken the core of how I’ve understood my culture and country to operate.

I’m talking about the reality that the LGBTQ people I love  – who have seen great strides in their freedom to marry and live as open about their home lives as I do – are still (rightly) concerned that all they have gained in the past decade could be stripped away with the wrong election results.  Which, of course, I don’t  have to worry about.

I’m talking about the freedoms we Americans have (albeit in unequal measure) that my friends in Cuba do not.

I’m more and more aware of the privilege that undergirds my liberty.

I’m also more and more aware that my privilege means I am free AND bound to speak up about the systemic racism, classism, sexism and other -isms that keep all but the most privileged out of power.

I am free AND bound by the law of love to assure that all God’s children have access to food, water, shelter, love and hope. And in a country that claims to understand that law of love, even more-so.

I would hope that I would be as awake to these realities in 2015, heading into 2016 had I not been given Liberty as my star word.  But I am thankful for the way that it caused me not only to take note of these things, but to take them to heart.

And it makes me all the more curious what God has in store for me going For(star)ward.

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