It is forbidden to taste of the pleasures of this world without a blessing.—The Talmud
As someone who has been paid to pronounce blessings at weddings and funerals, at baptisms and house blessings, at soup kitchens and foxhunts—as well as at lots and lots of weekly worship services—I think it is a big mistake to perpetuate the illusion that only certain people can bless things. Not everyone is vulnerable to this illusion, I know. Plenty of people say grace over meals in their own homes, asking God to bless the food they are about to receive from the divine bounty. A number more bless their children at bedtime, asking God to bring those children safely through the night. Where I live, you can sneeze in line at the post office and receive half a dozen blessings from people you do not even know.
Yet there remain a great many people who excuse themselves when asked to pronounce a formal blessing. They are not qualified, they say. They are not good with words. They would rather jump off a high diving board than try to say something holy in front of a bunch of other people. My guess is that even if you asked them to bless something in private—thereby separating the fear of public speaking from the fear of pronouncing a blessing—they would still demur. If you are one of those people, then only you know why. All I can tell you is how much the world needs you to reconsider.
I think that the best way to discover what pronouncing blessings is all about is to pronounce a few. The practice itself will teach you what you need to know...
...All I am saying is that anyone can do this. Anyone can ask and anyone can bless, whether anyone has authorized you to do it or not. All I am saying is that the world needs you to do this, because there is a real shortage of people willing to kneel wherever they are and recognize the holiness holding its sometimes bony, often tender, always life-giving hand above their heads. That we are able to bless one another at all is evidence that we have been blessed, whether we can remember when or not. That we are willing to bless one another is miracle enough to stagger the very stars.
(Read more: http://www.oprah.com/spirit/An-Altar-in-the-World-Excerpt-Barbara-Brown-Taylor_1/4#ixzz2HE4SD7T2)
Today was the annual Blessing Service at church. The first Sunday of the year, our congregation participates in communion together and Pastor Penny, I, and a guest pastor get the immense pleasure of praying blessings on our individual congregation members. I get the opportunity to hold people's hands, look in their eyes, and bless their new year with hope, love, and faith. I get to remind them that they are loved, valued, and never alone. I get to pray for health, employment, love, and healing relationships. And I get to share God's love with them... Thought tears and hugs.
It's a pretty amazing way to spend a morning.
Go ahead. Give it a try. Bless someone today. Send them a note or tell them in person - but bless them with affirmations, hopes, prayers, and love. The world needs more blessings!
Things I am thankful for today:
3. Being back to work!
4. My youth group kids learning from our elders.
5. Tears and hugs.
6. Dinner in the crockpot.
7. The hubby grocery shopping.
9. TV shows returning tonight! ("Once Upon A Time" and "Downton Abby")
Interesting... Today's Question of the Day: "Today was tough, because..." In the midst of giving blessings, I also hear what worries people most. I see the fear and insecurities in their eyes - and hope for the faith to carry them through. It's hard to see in people that always "have it together." But those are the moments that make us even more lovable, right? When we're human, broken, vulnerable? That's the moment we open up to what God can do!