Perhaps everything terrible is, in its deepest being, something that needs our love.”—Rainer Maria Rilke
There are so many images and thoughts coming to mind today. I don’t know how or if they will fit together. We will begin a new year in two days. I hope and pray that it will be a much less chaotic year than this passing one. I think if I were asked what I wish for this next year, I would be likely to answer, as many contestants in beauty pageants do when asked, “World Peace.” An aside – my granddaughter tried to get her daughter, then two, to answer this way when asked what she wanted for Christmas. I don’t know that she ever convinced her to say it. But seriously, isn’t that what we all want?
Perhaps, though, we could answer that we want a year of blessing. We, in our congregation, have been studying about the power of blessings. We have had teachings and sermons about this. Our Sunday book study read and discussed Russ Parker’s Book, Rediscovering the ministry of Blessing. So did Trinity’s chapter of The Brotherhood of St. Andrew. I recommend it, highly.
Early in our presidential campaigns, I suggested that we bless both of our candidates whether we liked them or not. I believe that those blessings meant something. I believe that blessings have power. I believe that is what we need to do. I believe it makes a difference.
Another aside – In a few days, we will have a new president. Some of us are delighted and some of us are not. That doesn’t matter. We are told in the Bible to pray for our president – 1 Timothy 2:1-4, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior…” See, World Peace!
Back to blessings, should we not also be giving blessings to our president? Some of us are delighted by this prospect. Some of us are not. It doesn’t matter. We just do it. I have been since the election. My blessings for our president are especially for wisdom, for a discerning heart, and whatever else enters my mind at the time. Will it make a difference? I believe so. I know it will in me. Giving blessing changes a person. (btw – the person we bless doesn’t have to be present.)
Giving blessing could bring light out of the deepening darkness of our world. It may be a tiny light, but it is light nevertheless. Of course, maybe it’s a flood lamp. Years ago, we took a trip and went into a cave. Once there, the guide turned out the lights. Talk about darkness. After a few minutes, he lit a match. One tiny match. So much light, you wouldn’t believe. If we lit several matches, can’t you just imagine…
Barbara Brown Tayler tells a story about blessing in her book, Altars in the World. Briefly, she told of a friend of hers who had a nightmare so frightening that he didn’t sleep well for years. He didn’t have it every night, but he feared that he would. In the dream, “a malevolent being showed up at the door of her friend’s house wanting something.” Every time he tried to find something to kill it or try to kill it, every time he killed it, the monster got larger.
“On night, in the dream, it occurred to him that what the demon wanted from him was his blessing.” That was the only thing that would end its agony and make it leave. So, in fear and trembling, he opened the door and began blessing the creature. Once was not enough. He had to say it repeatedly in as many ways that he could think to bless. Barbara writes, “It was as if the demon could not get enough…It was as if no one had ever blessed it before.” Her friend finally said for the hundredth time. ‘I bless you in the name of the Christ, now go in peace.’ Making a sound like a kitten, the demon turned around and never came back.”
We all need blessing. Every one of us. We all have our own inner monsters. How healing would it be if we were to bless each other? Perhaps, the demons inside of us would go away, too.
We can use Fr. Nigel’s blessing for a starter.
May you be filled with the very love of the Lord. May your heart be at peace. May your Soul be content. May your body and mind be without pain. May worry be a thing of the past. May you have abundant life in and through our Lord. May his healing Grace rest on your shoulders. Amen. ~ Fr. Nigel W. D. Mumford+
Grace and Peace to you. Have a blessed and blessing New Year.