What do you think of when you think of blessings? Does your mind turn to things for which you are thankful for? (Good health, family, friends, etc.) Or do you think of the blessings spoken over certain events or people? We tend to offer blessings over marriages, mission trips, meals, students and teachers beginning a new year and graduating students. Out of habit, most people I know even tend to offer a blessing when someone sneezes.
One of my favorite authors is Barbara Brown Taylor (a pastor and professor). This week I returned to one of her books I hadn’t read for a while, An Altar in the World. In it she focuses on everyday, ordinary kinds of spiritual practices that she says “remind the willing that faith is a way of life” (not just a way of thinking). “Pronouncing Blessings” is one of the chapters in her book, and in it she raises lots of thought provoking questions surrounding the particular practice of offering blessings. She argues that we all have the authority (and the responsibility) to pronounce blessings – on the good, the bad and the ordinary.
She writes –
“When Christians speak of the mystery of the incarnation, this is what they mean: for reasons beyond anyone’s understanding, God has decided to be made known in the flesh. Matter matters to God. The most ordinary things are drenched in divine possibility. Pronouncing blessings upon them is the least we can do.”
This passage really got me thinking – what is the “divine possibility” that is to be found in the “ordinary” of my life these days? As is true for many, if not most of you these days, my life seems extra-filled with the ordinary as I am spending what feels like 99% of my time within the walls of my own home. What then, is the divine possibility in the pile of clean laundry that needs to be put away, or in the tears of my toddler who is crying because I am making him take a break from watching cartoons?
Barbara Brown Taylor reminds me that God is in all things, and in all moments. For that reason I can strive to speak blessings on all the parts of my day – the joyful, the frustrating, the sorrowful, the miraculous. For, “all life comes from God, and for that reason alone we may call it blessed, leaving the rest to God.”