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Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” - Genesis 12:1 (NRSV) 


Each January, Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Mary Schmich invites her readers to pick a guiding word for the year—an idea that came from a reader named Mae. Mary is clear it is not a resolution nor a goal, but simply a word to shape the 365 days ahead. In 2016, Mary’s word was “pause.” As 2021 began and the pandemic continued, it was “endurance.”  


Mary’s readers often send her their words. A class of fourth graders chose “kindness.” For some high schoolers, their words ranged from “balance” and “self-acceptance" to “wanderlust” and “ataraxia.” (Mary said she had to look it up. I did, too.)


Ancient Abram’s word had to have been “go,” as in: “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house.” Go from all that was familiar and comfortable. But also “go” from that which no longer brought life. Abram’s father Terah had died in that land and that house. His journey was over. Abram’s wasn’t. “Go,” God said.


“Go.” It’s not as long as other words and probably not as deep or profound. Yet I want “go” to be my guiding word for the days ahead. I’d like it to guide the congregation I serve, too, as we continue to figure out what it means to be the church—to be faithful—in this time. “Go,” even if we don’t know where the journey will lead. “Go,” even if we seldom see the way ahead. “Go,” because we can trust the One who goes with us.



Lord, thank you for the new journey ahead. Help us to trust that you go with us every step of the way. Amen.

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