Sunday, September 25, 2005

blessing

My dad posted about blessing today, and my comment got a little overgrown, I thought it was more appropriate here:

One of the many wonderful things about my WA experience was my opportunity to give the blessing at the end of Vespers every week:

May God's goodness be yours
and well and seven times well may you spend your lives.
May you be an isle in the sea;
May you be a hill on the shore;
May you be a staff to the weak;
May you be a star in the darkness.
May the Love Christ Jesus gave fill every heart for you.
May the Love Christ Jesus gave fill you for everyone.

and whenever I recite it, even now, I can hear the way Nathan used to say it the year before me and the way Matt used to say it before that. I can see the faces of the faithful vesperers, sitting in the dim light of the cave, sometimes with the reflections of the candles, looking at me, often with a sense of appreciation or even affection. It was like the moment we were all ready for, that we couldn’t leave without. It was one constant in our changing liturgy, and I won't easily forget the way people received it as a gift. It was almost sacramental in the way Father Ron suggests in his comment on Dad’s blog. Not that I consider myself qualified to administer a sacrament, or even a blessing. But somehow through God’s grace, I sat on that stool every Thursday night, took a deep breath, closed my eyes for a moment, and did it with remarkable peace and a joy. And I meant it. That experience has lead me to savor the moment of blessing when I am in any congregation, as a divine gift for a community. Both a sending out for service and a reminder that we do nothing through our own strength.

2 comments:

Ryan said...

My fave is one from the home church, Jude 24-25:
"Now to him who is able to keep you from falling, to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy, to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, before all ages, now and forevermore. Amen."

Thanks for your words tonight, Bethany.

MattyA said...

Thanks for articulating the way I feel about the Vespers blessing far better than I ever could. I remember how nervous I was the first time I did it. Ron and I had spent a lot of time discussing exactly what we were looking for, and I wasn't sure that was it. Little did I know then what we would start that night. It was such an honor and a privilege to sit up there and bring a blessing to that strange ecclectic group of people that I loved dearly.