Our theme this month is Blessing. What does it mean to be a people of blessing? One of the best descriptions I have found comes from Soul to Soul, a
book we often use for Covenant groups, written by Alicia Hawkins and Unitarian Universalist minister, Rev. Christine Robinson.
A blessing can be a wish of wellness, prayer, or affirmation. Have you ever received a “bless you” after sneezing and felt a small sense of healing from it?
Perhaps someone has thanked you by saying, “bless your heart.” The most common blessing is something we say almost daily, and it is the phrase, “good-
bye,” which is a contraction of “God be with you.” These little statements can be a reminder that as religious people, we are to care for others and affirm them. Henri Nouwen said, “To give someone a blessing is the most significant affirmation we can offer. It is more than a word of praise or appreciation; it is more than pointing out someone’s talents or good deeds; it is more than putting someone in the light. To give a blessing is to affirm, to say ‘yes’ to a person’s Belovedness.”
A blessing can refer to any part of our life which we think of as a gift. These are the things we acknowledge on Sundays during Blessings and Concerns. The practice of “counting our blessings” is really a practice of gratitude for the gifts and joys in our lives.
We also bless the world with the gifts we offer it. As Unitarian Universalist minister Rebecca Parker says, “You must answer this question: What will you do
with your gifts? Choose to bless the world.”
A blessing can be a ritual that is carefully prepared to nurture our good intentions and hopes for the future. Rituals don’t have magical properties, but they do have an effect. For example, a pet blessing can remind us how much that animal adds to our lives, and as a result, we are more likely to do everything possible to keep our pet safe. This month, we will bless our eighth graders who have completed Coming of Age. We will bless our youth who are leaving high school and bridging to young adulthood. People gathered for the Installation on May 1 will bless our shared ministry as we formalize your call of me as the settled minister of UUCB.
In all these ways, blessings are relational. They happen between us and they connect us. I look forward to participating in various blessing rituals with you this month, to chatting with you about how you are blessed. And I say ‘yes’ to your Belovedness.