As a United Church minister I have the privilege of leading worship on Sunday mornings. In that role, the very last thing I do is “pronounce the commissioning and benediction”. In very plain words, it is my privilege to tell the congregation that their job is to spread God’s love in all they do over the next week (the commissioning) and then bless them by saying “God will be with you supporting and loving you and giving you peace.”(the benediction.)
Some hear that blessing and receive it with joy and gratitude. Others have already switched to leaving mode. Some wonder who gave me the right to tell them what to do or to be the agent of God’s blessing. A few don’t really care.
In her book “An Altar in the World”, theologian Barbara Brown Taylor discusses the practice of pronouncing God’s blessing. She points out that in our Christian faith, God asks us to offer God’s love, not because we have judged the world worthy or not worthy, but because the world and every thing and being in it is God’s creation.
Instead of leaving most of the back of my business card blank so that it can be used by me and others to jot down important information, I have added the words “Choose to make each thought and word a gift of joy for the world.” In my mind, my business card is planting seeds. Those receiving it may throw it into the next garbage can they see and never think of me or my books again. My hope is that those few words might remain in their hearts.
Ms. Taylor talks of each person’s ability to bless people, homes, tools and more, each person, not just the minister/pastor/priest. She speaks of blessing as not just what we consider the positives but also the negatives like mosquitoes, some politicians, etc.
Along with Ms. Taylor, I too suggest that we try intentionally blessing our world. Each time we enter our home or someone else’s, each time we step into a place of worship or work, meet a friend or stranger, quietly offer a blessing. May God bless this place, this person, with peace or love or joy or wisdom …whatever comes to our heart at that moment. Like water dripping on a rock, offering blessings from our hearts will make a difference in ourselves and in our world.
“As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”( Joshua24:15)
Today’s Faith by Rev. Janet Stobie