Sometimes as a pastor, I’m asked to give a blessing if I attend a gathering. At a wedding, I’ll be asked to offer a blessing for a newly married couple, or at the Thanksgiving dinner table, I’ll be asked to bless the meal (even when gathering with my largely non-religious relatives).
Often we think of a blessing as a schmaltzy or benign thing. On a brief foray into the twitter #blessed hashtag today, I saw posts about kids’ artwork, encountering deer on a morning jog, and being seated in first class on a recent flight.
But in scripture, a blessing is more than what just feels good and right. A blessing is a revelation of God’s presence, an assurance of God’s goodness, a manifestation of God’s justice and peace.
In her poem, “Blessing in the Chaos” Jan Richardson writes these words of blessing: “Let what distracts you cease. Let what divides you cease. Let there come an end to what diminishes and demeans and let depart all that keeps you in its cage.”
In these chaotic times, we may not feel particularly blessed. But God’s promise remains that amid the confusion, the anxiety, the turbulence, God remains with us.
One of my favorite passages from scripture is from the book of the Prophet Isaiah:
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.”
The waters seem to be rising and the fires seem to be blazing around us right now, but in the midst of that, I pray that you might be blessed with the promise of God’s presence, which brings light into darkness and stillness into storm.
May God be with you this week.