“Rabbi, is there a Proper Blessing for a White Supremacist?”
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Jesus called his disciples to give, forgive, teach, and heal in his name. We are empowered by the Spirit to bless everyone we meet, practicing generosity and compassion, and proclaiming the Good News of God in Christ with hopeful words and selfless actions. We can share our stories of blessing and invite others to the Way of Love. https://www.episcopalchurch.org/way-of-love/practice/bless
A Blessing for the Reader of this Blog: Dear Lord God. Bless, with me, the reader of this blog. May you come to an understanding of what it means to bless all things. May you ponder my comments in your heart, and laud and forgive me as necessary. Let us, by pondering together, come to a deeper understanding of God’s way in the world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Romans 12:9-21 New International Version (NIV) “14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.”
During the past month I explored the “Blessing” facet of The Way of Love. “Blessing” urges us to be a blessing to the world. One small way of doing this is to open ourselves up to “blessing” all things.
Could I bless all things? How could I bless something as ungodly as, for example, a white supremacist? I immediately thought about this when I learned of the Way of Love blog I was asked to write.
In the play and movie “The Fiddler on the Roof,” the rabbi’s son asks his father: “Is there a proper blessing for the tsar?” The rabbi answers: “Of course…may God bless and keep the tsar far away from us.” To the fearful Jews in Anatevka, this blessing would suffice.
The goal I set for myself echoes the question of the rabbi’s son. Could I develop my blessing skills to such an extent that I could even bless a white supremacist? How would such an exercise change me? In learning how to bless all things, could I learn to bless even that which might appear to be an anathema to my own beliefs? To find out, I decided to practice blessing things for a month and see where it led me.
Many of my blessings are recorded in the accompanying “MAW’s Little Book of Blessing for (Almost) All Occasions.” During this month of grace, I have discovered that blessing was, at first, not natural. Why? Because it required me to be fully present in the moment so that I could pick out the essence of the thing or person that I was blessing.
I also discovered what became a common process to my blessings: (1) a call on God to bestow and bless, (2) a description of the essence of what I was blessing, (3) a look into the future and a litany of how I wanted the relationship with the object of my blessing to turn out. More of this in the “Little Book of Blessings.” Being practical-minded, I also developed what I call a blessing “short-form” which will certainly suffice in many instances.
What did this month of blessings accomplish? During this exercise, I found that with a little practice, I was able to truly bless all things. This took concentration, observation, prayer, and a fair bit of humility. However, I found that my blessing immediately set up a bond between me and God’s creation. My blessings helped me express care and compassion for the person or thing that I blessed. My blessings help me call on Jesus to be present with us at that moment. My blessings help me see God’s work in all things.
Genesis 32:22 New International Version (NIV) But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go (I will not let us grow into the fullness of our relationship in the world) unless you bless me.”
Ultimately, I discovered that “Blessing” can help us move into a deeper relationship with our world and the kingdom of heaven. And that is truly a blessing.
MAW’s Little Book of Blessing for (Almost) All Occasions
Form for Super-Simple Blessings:
Dear Lord God.
Bless this child. (Who or what are you blessing?)
May he always be loved. (This is the only challenging part. What do you wish for that which you bless?)
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Bless this house. (Who or what are you blessing?)
May all who live here always be in your care. (This is the only challenging part. What do you wish for that which you bless?)
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Blessings for (almost) all Occasions
1. A Blessing for Crickets in the Fall: Dear Mother Earth. I have heard the crickets as dusk settles on this autumn day. Bless these harbingers of summer’s end. May they fulfill their purpose in God’s creation. May their chirping always remind me to pause and savor the slacking summer. May I be ever alert for your revelation in nature and sense the rhythm of your love that flows throughout the Universe. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
2. A Blessing for a Partner who is Sleeping: Dear Lord God, my partner lies sleeping in our bed. Please bless her with restful sleep, pleasant dreams, and a gentle awakening in the morning. May her rest and rising inspire her to show forth your promise in all that she does. May my love for her as I watch her sleep inspire me to my own rest and joyful awakening. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
3. A Blessing for the Morning: Bless this morning, Lord God. May the everlasting beauty of your creation-in-awaking stir in me the desire to let the world know of your steadfast love. May this morning inspire me to live a productive day, secure in the knowledge of your bright-shining love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
4. A Blessing for the Evening: Bless this evening, dear Mother God. May I let go of the day and enter the time of my rest unencumbered. As the world darkens hold me and all of your faithful servants in the comfort of your constant care. Give to us rest, keep us safe through the night, and let us awaken refreshed at the rising of your sun. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
5. A Blessing for Sunday: Dear Lord, you have asked us to set aside one day as Sabbath. May we remember your call to rest as we go about our day, seeking rest even in action, and dedicate both our rest and activity to your purpose for us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
6. A Blessing for Fall: Dear Mother God, we ask your blessing on this Fall season. As the leaves fall, the days get colder and the nights get longer keep us mindful of our own impermanence while we long for our ultimate resurrection. Help us to settle in our lives after a busy summer just as the earth is tucking itself under a beautiful blanket of leaves. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
7. A Blessing for Winter: Dear Mother God, we ask your blessing on our Winter with all of its radiant whiteness. May we savor the cold and desolate landscapes even as we remember the beautiful summer and long for our eventual spring. Keep us mindful of the needs of our fellow human who journey along through this winter and let us be kind and charitable to those who need our warmth. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
8. A Blessing for Spring: Dear Mother God, bless this Spring and awaken us from the doldrums of a long winter. Bring to our minds the rebirth of life from the seemingly still earth and help us recognize your hand in all that is brought into new life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
9. A Blessing for Summer: Dear Mother God, bless the coming of summer with its long sunlit days, its warm breezes, and the companionship we rekindle with others. Help us be mindful of the need for rest. Bring to our attention those for whom there is no escape from the heat and lead us to patience in all things. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
10. A Blessing for a Comfortable Bed: Dear Lord. Bless this comfortable bed. May it help me obtain the rest I need to be a better steward of my gifts, freely bestowed upon me by your love. Keep me safe though the night, give me peaceful sleep, and soothing dreams. Let me rise from this bed with energy in the morning and go out into your world to praise you with my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
11. A Blessing for the Lawn: Dear Christ. Bless this lawn and keep it ever green. May we continually rejoice in its greenness and treat it with the loving kindness our Earth Mother demonstrates to us. May this lawn remind us of the garden in which you walked silently with Adam and Eve, and may we, too, remember our role in the joy all creation. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
12. A Blessing for Children: Dear Lord, bless these children and keep them ever safe. Help us to remember that children are our windows on the future and may we strive to insure that they are well-nurtured in all good things. May we be like them: always learning, always loving, still questioning, always striving, always looking forward to our future in your world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
13. A Blessing for Music: Dear Composer God, bless this music. By listening to it may we be elevated from our ordinary existence to a place where we can better know you. May we be thankful for the gift of hearing this music, for the musicians who play it, and for its expression of the joy of creativity. May we always be mindful of the need for artful phrase, and bring us to that place where we, too, can join in the dance of creation. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
14. A Blessing for a Warm Wind: Dear God, bless this warm wind that blows across the earth and brings with it remembrances of summers past. Help us recall these warm winds to our minds during the cold nights of our lives. Let these memories also stir up the blessings given to your people by the Holy Spirit, the breath of God, the giver of life and inspiration and truth. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
15. A Blessing for a Cold Wind: Dear God, please bless this bitingly cold wind. May it recall to us the purification of our minds, and the forgiveness of our sins. Holy Spirit, blow your creativity and life and inspiration into us with these cold winds, that we might be warmed by the knowledge of the Trinity’s love, and the presence of God in all things. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
16. A Blessing for 2:30 am or Thereabouts: Dear Comforter God, bless this time of wakefulness in the stillness of your creation. Let this time remind me that others toil while I sleep, and some have no sleep because of challenges they face. Bring sleep to me, and safety and rest to all of your children that we may be fully awake for your new day. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
17. A Blessing for the Animal Chewing on Our Fence at Midnight: Dear God, bless this creature who has aroused us from our slumber. Keep it mindful that others sleep while it works. Keep us aware that others are kept from their sleep by guns, and violence, and the inequities of our economic systems. May you rouse this chewer from his or her work, and see to it that they are calmed by your loving care. Keep us always mindful of your creation and the needs of others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
18. A Blessing for any Number of Butterflies: Dear Mother Earth, bless these butterflies who dance upon the breezes gathering pollen on their appointed rounds. Let us, like them, delight in the breezy freedom of Summer as it turns into Fall and let us be willing to spread our wings and show our beauty to the world. In Jesus’ name. Amen
19. A Blessing for Rest: Dear Lord, bless me as I step aside from the crazy chaos of the world. Help me to understand that I am a human being, not a human doing, and teach me that all will be done in due time. Let me use leisure to good use, knowing that rest helps me to see your glory in the world. In Jesus’ name. Amen
20. A Blessing for the Sky and All that is in it: Dear Christ, bless the sky above ours heads that lends an ever-changing beauty to our world. Bless the birds, bless the clouds, bless the insects, and bless the rain. Keep those who travel by plane safe. May we work to keep the sky clear and refreshing for the next generations, and may we promise to look to the sky each day and behold your wondrous glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen
21. A Blessing for the Earth: Dear Mother Earth, we praise you and we bless you as the truth that our God is good. May all who trod the earth remember that it is our only home and treat it with reverence. Bless those who toil in the ground, bless those who walk upon the earth, and bless those who fly above the surface. Bless all creatures of the earth, and the seas, and the sky. In Jesus’ name. Amen
22. A Blessing of a Window: Dear God, bless this window that allows me such a well-framed view of your creation. May I remember to pause and look out daily on your handiwork. May this window let in the light of your nature by day, and by night keep us safe and starlit. In Jesus’ name. Amen
23. A Blessing for a Computer: Dear Lord, bless this computer that it may provide me with entertainment, music, and knowledge. May I use it responsibly and not for malice, hatred or false witness. May it bring me closer to all peoples, may it help me find what I seek, and may it help me glorify the kingdom. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
24. A Blessing for the WWW: Dear God, bless the WWW and all the servers and nodes on it. May it bring your human children closer together, sow peace where there is discord, knowledge where there is ignorance, and connectivity where there is isolation. May we always use it to advance your purposes for us and the world, striving to use its power always toward the good. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
25. A Blessing for Plants: Dear Mother Earth, please bless these plants. May we help them to show forth your glory in the world by watering them and letting them see the sun. As we care for them, may their leaves and flowers and seeds remind us how much you care for us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
26. A Blessing for the Planets: Dear Lord of the galaxy, bless the planets that revolve around your central Sun. May we notice them in the night sky and be reminded of our place in your beautiful creation. May they be steady in their course, patient in their movements, and inspiring in their beauty. In Jesus’ name. Amen
27. A Blessing for the Stars: Dear God, bless the stars of night that hover over the earth in watchful awareness. May they always inspire us with their stillness and clarity and steadfastness. May we, like them, radiate your love for the universe in all that we do. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
28. A Blessing for Tuesday: Bless this second day of the week, oh Lord, and give us a right attitude. Let us strive to ensure that our work and leisure always creatively adds to the richness of your world. May we be blessed with companionship and community as we work through the week and remember your work of weekly creation. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
29. A Blessing for the Pilgrims (I): Dear God, bless the pilgrims who walked the path of St. James this summer. Keep them mindful of what they learned as individuals during that time, and also keep them mindful of what they learned as a community on their walk together. Let all of us know what it means to walk together with you, Lord Christ, and may we continue to wish “Buen Camino” to all of your children. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
30. A Blessing for an Unborn Grandchild: Dear Lord Christ, bless our unborn grandchild and keep him or her safe from any illness or other harm. Bless his or her soon-to-be parents and prepare them to be lights of goodness and knowledge for their son or daughter. May this child grow into fullness and may we grow with them in our shared future journey. Bless them, bless us, and keep us all in your care. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
31. A Blessing for a Born Grandchildren: Dear Mother Earth God, bless our grandchildren that they always know that we love and cherish them. Keep them mindful of their family, teach them to love all of your creation, and let them grow into the fullness of our heavenly Kingdom, both on Earth and in heaven. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
32. A Blessing for Meetings: Dear God, bless this meeting that it may be productive towards its end, and life giving to those who are in attendance. Let us share our common purpose in our short time together and go out back in to the workplace with new knowledge, excitement, and hope. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
33. A Blessing for 1:1 Meetings with Employees: Dear Lord Christ, please bless this time together as we discuss our common goals. May we be honest, insightful and caring with each other. May we show respect for each other and establish a strong foundation for our everyday life together. Bless us so that we might envision a bright future together as we work toward a united purpose. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
34. A Blessing for Research: Dear Lord Christ, bless the research we do to better understand your creation. May we be tireless searchers for the truth and strive to do work that is of use to all peoples of the Earth. Bless us with intelligence, creativity, passion, and endurance for what we have chosen to accomplish is not simple and will not easily be finished. We look forward to a future where our work may come to fruition and serve the greater good. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
35. A Blessing for a Laboratory: Dear Lord God, bless this laboratory and all the researchers in it. May it be a place of creativity and hard work, but let it also be a place of peace and friendship as we work toward a common goal. May we be safe, may we only do what is proper, and may we achieve success in that for which we strive. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
36. A blessing for a Fume Hood: Dear Lord, bless this hood and the researchers who work in it. May you keep them safe and fill them with a sense of true purpose. May they keep this hood in good order, and may these, your children, have success in those goals for which they strive. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
37. A Blessing for a Reaction: Dear God, bless this reaction that it may proceed as intended and in a safe and orderly fashion. Give us the yield and the purity of compound we deserve and keep us creatively curious so that we might not fail to discern your hand in all things, even synthetic transformations. We look for the future where this reaction will be recounted as a small, but essential step, in our progress to improve the health of all of your people. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
38. A Blessing for Birds: Dear Mother Earth God, bless the birds who celebrate your glory with their songs. Let them remind us of your care for them and us, as we delight in their companionship from season to season. Bless us that care for the birds, and may you keep them safe. In Jesus’ name. Amen
39. A Blessing for Pets: Dear God, bless all pets whose lives are closely intertwined with ours. Set them up for us as examples of your love, and as teachers of mindfulness. Teach us how to be good masters to them, and to glimpse you in their lives with us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
40. A Blessing for Baptism: Dear Lord, bless this, your child, who is to be baptized today. May she always remember the cleansing power of the waters of your forgiveness, and may we, like her, see your kingdom reveal in the sacraments. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
41. A Blessing for a Wedding: Dear Lord God, bless these two people who have expressed and dedicated their love for each other in our midst. May they always strive to love each other, and to let your spirit support them in both challenging and good times. Bestow upon them the skills of patience, communication, humility, and kindness. Let our witnessing of this wedding remind us of your love for all of your children. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
42. A Blessing for the Dying: Dear Jesus, bless this your servant who is dying. Give him release from pain and visions of your glory. Let not our sadness consume us, and help us to remember the promises of heaven, you have given to us, your children. We cannot hope to understand what the future holds for him, but we do know that this person is a beloved child of God, and a dear fellow pilgrim. Give them rest and bless all of us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
43. A Blessing for the Sick: Dear Jesus, bless this your child who is ill. May she be comfortable and pain free and she return to health quickly. May we be moved to her aid and support her recovery. Bless us, too, that we may be spared from illness, and that all people, everywhere, may be healthy and happy. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
44. A Blessing for the Pilgrims (II): Dear Mother God, bless these pilgrims as we move in common purpose toward confirmation. May we recognize that Christ is here with us, and in us, and in this community. May we grow in faith, excel in love, and realize the essential grace of our life together. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
45. A Blessing for a Studying Student: Dear Lord God, Mother of Wisdom. Bless this studying student as he vigorously applies himself to the pursuit of the knowledge of your revealed world. May his search for knowledge be free of stress and fear, and may his studies make him an energetic participant in your plan for our planet. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
46. A Blessing for a Coffee Shop: Dear God, bless this coffee shop as a place of work and relaxation. May your people be blessed with good things in this place and be inspired in creativity, companionship, and community. May the food your people eat nourish and rejuvenate their bodies, and may the employees enjoy the fruits of their collective labor. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
47. A Blessing for Quiet Contemplation: Dear Mother God. Bless this our time of contemplation that it might further reveal your desires and plans to us. May this time help us to better know you, to better know ourselves, and to better enter into communion with all of the great cloud of witnesses that have gone before us. May our stillness open us up to the Holy Spirit, and may you infuse into us your constant inspiration and love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
48. A Blessing for a Shower: Dear God. Bless this shower. May it remind me of the waters of my baptism, and may these memories awaken in me your constant love. May this shower cleanse and revive me and may it fill me with a continued sense of purpose. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
49. A blessing for a Holiday: Dear Mother God. Bless this holiday and keep us safe. As we travel, keep us ever mindful that you are always with us and that there is nowhere we can go that is outside of your loving embrace. Help us learn more of your world from those we meet, and may we indeed be your ambassadors of compassion, patience, honesty, and love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
50. A Blessing for the Homeless: Dear Lord God. Bless the homeless and let them find a blessing of loving respite. Grant that we may always be mindful of the need for affordable and clean housing. May we work to keep them safe from the wiles of the world and strive to ensure that they are seen and loved. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
51. A Blessing Upon Entering a House: Dear Lord Christ, bless this house that I now enter. May I bring only good thoughts and right actions for those who live here. May this house be a place of rest and life, and may we remember that Christ is here with us. Keep all of us in your tender care. In Jesus’ name. Amen
52. A Blessing Upon Leaving a House: Dear Lord Christ, bless this house that I now leave. Bless its occupants and keep them safe and happy and shower your love upon them. May we all remember our time together with you with fondness and thanksgiving. Keep me safe in my travels that I also may arrive at my home in peace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
53. A Blessing for a Cell Phone: Dear Lord Christ, bless this cell phone. May it be a method of calm communication and an access point to your beautiful world. May we be ever mindful of what we say to others and shielded from those who would hate us. Keep us mindful of the great benefits that this cell phone offers us, and the responsibilities that come with those gifts. May we also be aware of the elements of the earth that make up this phone and ensure that it is wisely and ethically recycled at the end of its days. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
54. A Blessing for a White Supremacist: Dear Lord Mother God. Bless this white supremacist. May we both realize that we have a common bond as we are both created in your image. May he come to realize that followers of Christ believe that all of us are your children and have equality in your Kingdom. May he also realize that his actions only serve to separate him from the ultimate comfort of your eternal love. May your Holy Spirit inspire him to a new ways of thinking, calm his hatred, sooth his loneliness, and bring us together into your heavenly kingdom here on Earth. In Jesus’ name. Amen.