Give Me a Word!

Those Wise Ones who followed the star were blessed to see and to agree with each other on the Light they were following! I am not always so clear. I am finding myself like the seekers who came to the Desert Ammas and Abbas so long ago with the plea, “Give me a Word!” I have been inspired–and daunted–by those who have taken up the challenge to listen for and choose a Word for 2013, a Word like a star to follow, a Word to guide and shape each intention and action in the year ahead. I have come up short; I have no Word yet!

So where do I go to hear a Word? I fear that often my dilemma is that there are too many words that clamor for my attention–the political word, the cultural word, the spiritual-not-religious word, the word on my street. Last year, my Word-in-Action was CELEBRATE! in anticipation of all the milestones whizzing by. This year is more elusive and mysterious. So I fall back on the resources where I have received a Word, day by day, year by year.

The sermon on Sunday proclaims that I am Beloved! I can listen to that Word all the rest of the days of my Life, and try to trust its truth and marinate in its meaning.

The text from the Psalm which was part of the contemplative prayer group invited me to seek “peaceful paths,” a directive, a Word, that helps me choose between alternatives that lie before me.

My spiritual director invites me to look at a future opening with a lens of my heart for God, rather a lens of defensive hyper-vigilance; I should be reading my own blog post from last week and taking it to heart! Another Word I need to hear.

My own gathering of Ammas, not of the Desert, but of the City, gather to remind me of the way that together mourning has been turned to dancing, over and over again in the years we have been meeting, even through changes and loss.

I receive a gift; it is a book of poetry that falls right open to my favorite prayer from Mechtild of Magdeburg: I cannot dance, O lord,/Unless You lead me./ If you wish me to leap joyfully,/ Let me see You dance and sing– The Word keeps appearing in my eyes and ears!

And I remember the words of Moses, reiterated by Paul, to those approaching the Promised Land reminding them that: “The Word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to observe.” (Deut 30: 14).

Even without a Word for The Year, I have access to a Word, to Bread for the Journey and Strength for the Day. I even find the Word in the sound of sheer silence, many days.

Maybe rather than pleading for a Word in this newly forming year, I need to ask for open eyes, for open ears, and for an open heart, so that when the Word come to me, I can welcome it and let it make a home in me.






Invitations on the Journey: Wisdom from Elders
Ignited by SACRED FIRE: a Book Review
Let It Go!
About Elizabeth Nordquist

Elizabeth Nordquist is a Presbyterian pastor, teacher, and spiritual director who writes on women's issues, spirituality and Scripture, and what is happening in the world--hers, her neighborhood, the Church and the world. Each day she looks for ways in which the Spirit is moving in and around her.

  • Erin

    “I cannot dance, O lord,/Unless You lead me./ If you wish me to leap joyfully,/ Let me see You dance and sing– ”

    I love the idea of being this dependent on God’s leading instead of our own. While we cannot be nuns in a convent, we can create space to have the same kind of openness to God’s leading…even in our busy lives. It takes commitment and time, but the rewards are powerful. If we (I) walked our talk more often, we would be more complete witnesses to the power of truly following Christ.

    My word for 2013 is HOPE and I am choosing to limit my views of news and headlines (I am a news junkie) so that I will be awash in God’s Words of Hope rather that the horrors and violence of the world at large.

    Thanks for the reminders. They are balms for my soul. I miss our monthly chapels!


  • Carolyn Kingshill

    Elizabeth —-
    You need to lighten up. You are trying too hard. Just let go of it for a day or so, and suddenly when you are least expecting it, a word will pop into your head. That’s the way it happens with me at least. If I try too hard, nothing happens. Give God some free time and lots of empty space to insert something in!!! You’re being too serious, too Elizabeth!!!!!!
    Heh, Heh —– Carolyn