Beyond Wood and Stone

Rev. Elisabeth's Cedar Park Blog site

Star Words

This year, Cedar Park United will join with an ever increasing number of Christian faith communities who use a daily spiritual practice known as “Star Words” (…Words!! not a George Lucas franchise- I see you!!) .

I first learned of this practice through an article on the Reformed Worship website quite a few years ago. It’s a tradition that has quickly caught on, and for good reason.

The concept is inspired by the story of Magi who travelled from the East, following the guidance of a star, to visit the Christ Child. (You can read the story  here at Bible Gateway). Like the Magi, we choose to be led towards the life of Jesus Christ by the guidance of a star. On the Feast of Epiphany, all who come to worship are given a star, upon which is written a word.

This Star Word becomes ours for the length of a season (from Jan 6 to the last Sunday before Lent, March 3), and we’re invited to ponder it, reflect on it, notice it. We may not like it, it may not resonate… at first. But noticing it show up in our daily experience is what makes it become a lode-star, a guiding-star, a north-star for the way we approach and respond to the world, and our life within it.  I’ve heard from two clergy colleagues who “lived with” their Star Words for a year, and noticed how much it both reflected and shaped their experience of God-with-Us, and their way of discipleship. You can read one story here.

Let me also share this wonderful, humorous story of a family who were guided by Star Words for a month.

Our family (two adults, one teenager, two toddlers and a dog) were given Star Words at church last month: Peace, Wonder, Balance, Integrity, Protect.  We wanted to swap them around, because “Peace” was given to our warrior, and “Protect” seemed more appropriate for our dog. But we did as we were told, and tried to be attentive to our words at least once a day.  It’s been frankly amazing to become aware of these words and the way they show up in our lives. My normally pragmatic/stoic partner – given Wonder- has started saying “Wow!” as she notices beauty, hears music as if for the first time, and is amazed when the toddlers stop fighting.  Our teenager, who normally lets the world go by, has joined the school anti-bullying group, and won’t use straws or plastic forks “It’s for the fish, Mom, duh…!” I’ve noticed the innate integrity (or honest emotion and action) of two year olds, and the effort it takes them to balance night and day, sleep and play, food and fighting. Yes, peace is definitely lost, often in this crazy blended household, but I’m noticing, it is more often regained.  We were asked to hand the words back on Sunday. Not happening. We’re not letting them go. Not ever. They’re ours now. Peace out.

So that’s what we’re going to do this Sunday.  You’ll all get a Star Word.  If you can’t be in worship on Sunday, and want to join in, then leave a comment on this blog, and we’ll give you your own Star Word.  Or check out our Facebook pages on Sunday 6th, leave a comment and we’ll give you your word.

And on the Feast of Transfiguration, we’ll see where these Star Words have led us….. I can’t wait!


  1. Thanks for this installment as I sit here recovering from the flu that I have been racked with since Dec 26.

  2. erjones

    January 9, 2019 at 7:28 pm

    Oh, poor you, Joanne! Prayers for a speedy recovery!

  3. May I have a Star Word, please.
    Thank you.

  4. erjones

    January 11, 2019 at 11:47 am

    Hi Jean,
    I’ve sent you an email too, but your Star Word is OPTIMISM

  5. A Star Word would be welcomed. Thanks. Interesting report on the family using their star words!

  6. erjones

    January 11, 2019 at 1:24 pm

    Hi Crystal,
    Your star word is NEWNESS

  7. I know we are a little ways in from Epiphany but I keep seeing your posts on star words and I was very intrigued! Which led me to finally checking on the practice this evening and it sounds so right in terms of the reflecting I was doing today on how to listen for God’s voice amid all the other stuff in the world (the blog you linked to about balance as a star word certainly resonated with me!). All that said, could I have a latecomers star word?

  8. erjones

    January 23, 2019 at 7:30 am

    Absolutely, Colleen! And your Star Word is …pathfinding

  9. Hmmm interesting…and it feels very very applicable at the moment…thank you!

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