I love the quirky. The slightly off-kilter. Curious about the derivation of the word, I looked it up and it’s unknown, but defined as a sudden twist or turn. Its meanings run from whimsy to subterfuge. Like my own meaning, I guess.

During previous Lents, I’d written a meditation or reflection each day as a persDSC07316.jpgonal spiritual practice. The first time I tried this, I thought about the forty people who had provided me with a spiritual foundation: teachers, mentors, friends, family. Then, another year, I wrote about my experiences serving the various congregations that had called me to pastoral work in their midst. Last year, I chose forty images from my collection of photos I’d taken since I was a kid…sixty years worth of prints, slides, and digital images, and I wrote meditations on each one.

This year, I’m doing something kinda screwy. In the Kellam kitchen cupboards are enough coffee/tea mugs to make for a quirky Lent. Each one tells a story, you see. Or, you will see if you stay with me through Lent. One cup a day.

[I like the cable series Jerry Seinfeld hosts: “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” It’s an odd format. Quirky. Crotchet. Vagary. Not that I’m giving up coffee for Lent, but I’m going to feature empty mugs: Clergy in Blogs Considering Cups.]

The hope (and challenge) is that I can reflect on part of my story as I journey from the ashes of Lent to the sunny new life of Easter. Whether you find this of interest is, to be frank, of only secondary importance. This is my quirky approach to Lent. Maybe yours is more serious.

So, there’s the first mug. It has my name on it. And supposedly some attributes assigned to the name Jeffrey. As if our names came to us after we had lived long enough to establish a reputation. Or, as if our parents had named us according to some aspirations they held for us. So according to the mug, Jeffrey means peaceful. Geoffrey: God’s peace. I don’t think Harry and Beverly actually knew that when their first born arrived. I think they just liked the name. I do too.

I also, for the most part, like myself. When I run across this mug in the morning, though, and fill it with fair trade coffee, I read through the little poem and think, “Is this who I am? Or, is this my assignment for the day?” Bringing inner peace when others are stressful? Restoring serenity when there’s a fight? I’m respected as “valuable, precious, and rare?” [Rare? I knew of two or three other Jeff Kellams back in Virginia. Precious? A vagary. But valuable, that I can own. My family, my teachers, my friends have given me value I cannot deny. Somehow I learned very early on that God valued me. Values me.

I don’t need a mug to remind me of that, that I am loved. Day after day, I am filled with gratitude that my wife, my children and grandchildren, my church, and all three friends have wonderful ways of contributing to my identity as a person beloved. My prayer this Lent is that I will so love in return that all of us can be peace-filled, full of respect and love for one another, and valuable to each other. That would be precious.

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