As the summer draws to a close, as our community prepares for the start of the academic year, as our children go back to school, or off to college, as we welcome new people into our midst and send off beloved friends, as we celebrate the beauty and bounty of the earth and as we lament pain and injustice both near and far, there is a particular word I have been thinking about, particularly when it comes to doing: BLESS.
There are many definitions of the word bless, but here is one I like: To make holy, to consecrate. To hold in reverence.
In religious and secular culture, we too often hear a spoken or implicit connection between blessing and reward, whether that be the blessing of health, wealth, security, opportunity, etc. Too little emphasis is given to the opportunities we have to do the blessing, to recognize the mundane and momentous moments, objects, and people as holy and hold them in reverence. And yet, the opportunities are all around us. And as church, what better way to be doers of the Word!
Blessing is something that we can do in any time and any place. We can say a blessing over a sink full of dirty dishes, thanking God for these vessels that held the food that nourished people. We can say a blessing as we park our cars, giving thanks for a safe arrival. We can bless one another. In Puerto Rican culture, it is a tradition that children greet elders with the word “Bendición” to which the elder replies “Que Dios te bendiga." The child literally asks for a blessing, and is met with the words “God bless you.”
As we consider this Fall how to be doers of the word, let us also ask how in our daily living we are given opportunities to bless others and to bless the world around us. And we can start here: as you read the pages of this newsletter, whether it is a paper copy in your hands or a document on your computer screen, I invite you to offer a blessing over the words you read, the people who wrote them, and the ministries they describe. May the many opportunities to serve, build up community, witness to one another and the world, and know God more deeply and fully, be a blessing in your life as well.