The Blessing You Receive and the Blessing You Do

Bless the World, part 1

“Choose to Bless the World,” a benediction by my colleague Unitarian Universalist minister, Rev. Rebecca Parker:
Your gifts—whatever you discover them to be—
can be used to bless or curse the world.
The mind’s power,
The strength of the hands,
The reaches of the heart,
The gift of speaking, listening, imagining, seeing, waiting
Any of these can serve to feed the hungry,
Bind up wounds,
Welcome the stranger,
Praise what is sacred,
Do the work of justice
Or offer love.
Any of these can draw down the prison door,
Hoard bread,
Abandon the poor,
Obscure what is holy,
Comply with injustice
Or withhold love.
You must answer this question:
What will you do with your gifts?
Choose to bless the world.
The choice to bless the world is more than act of will,
A moving forward into the world
With the intention to do good.
It is an act of recognition,
A confession of surprise,
A grateful acknowledgment
That in the midst of a broken world
Unspeakable beauty, grace and mystery abide.
There is an embrace of kindness,
That encompasses all life,
Even yours.
And while there is injustice, anesthetization, or evil
There moves a holy disturbance,
A benevolent rage,
A revolutionary love
Protesting, urging insisting
That which is sacred will not be defiled.
Those who bless the world live their life
As a gesture of thanks
For this beauty
And this rage.
The choice to bless the world can take you into solitude
To search for the sources of power and grace;
Native wisdom, healing, and liberation.
More, the choice will draw you into community,
The endeavor shared,
The heritage passed on,
The companionship of struggle,
The importance of keeping faith,
The life of ritual and praise,
The comfort of human friendship,
The company of earth
The chorus of life welcoming you.
None of us alone can save the world.
Together—that is another possibility waiting.
Blessing is our theme in May. It’s what we’ll be exploring in our Journey Groups this month.

There’s blessing, the noun, a thing that brings goodness, joy, or help to our lives. Food is a blessing. Waking up in the morning is a blessing. Air filling the lungs is a blessing. Friends are a blessing and, if you’re lucky, so is family. In this sense, the theme, blessing, is essentially the same as the theme gratitude. Reflecting on, noticing, attuning to and taking in the blessings in our lives is all about noticing things to be grateful for and being grateful for them.

But blessing also has this other side. Besides the blessings you receive, there is the blessing that you give. Besides blessings, the nouns, there is blessing, the present participle of the verb, to bless.

I and many others have observed that gratitude and generosity go together. When you are filled with the sense of thankfulness – that you are provided for abundantly with gifts you did not earn or deserve – then you are naturally primed to give generously: to pay back or pay forward. That close connection between gratitude and generosity – so close that they are two sides of the same coin – might not be obvious. But with blessing, those two sides are combined in the same word, aren’t they? When you pay attention to the blessings you receive, you are naturally primed to look for ways to be a blessing to others, ways to bless the world.

You receive gifts, and you have gifts, which you can use to enrich the lives of others, or not. You can choose to notice the blessings. You can choose to be a blessing. You can bless the world. By yourself, you can bless it a little bit. Together, adding your blessing to yours and yours and mine -- coordinating our blessing for synergistic effect – together, we can save the world.

* * *
This is part 1 of 3 of "Bless the World"
See also
Part 2: Together Is Hard
Part 3: Creating Situatedness

No comments:

Post a Comment