Grace and Peace to you.
Yesterday in worship we heard the story of the baptism of Jesus. We reflected on the baptismal blessing: “You are my child, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” We did a baptismal renewal liturgy. I sprinkled everybody in the church with baptismal water using a cedar branch. “Remember your baptism and be thankful.”
Then I invited people to come forward for a blessing. One by one they came forward. I made a cross of oil on their forehead, laid a hand on their head and said, “Nita, born of water and the Spirit, may you faithfully bear Christ into the world.” They lined up patiently. The stepped up one by one. Dozens of them, old and young, some whom I know well by now, some still nearly strangers to me. I looked them in the eyes. “Born of water and the Spirit…” Some smiled, some looked searchingly, some bowed their heads, some held their hands open. “May you faithfully bear Christ into the world.” One little boy said, “OK.”
Toward the end I began to get a little teary. It’s a powerful thing to behold so many people, one by one, as God’s Beloved, and look them in the eyes and bless them, bless them all. Ones who are pure in heart and ones who are all messed up, not that I can tell the difference, ones that are so happy and ones that are longing, aching for something new— none of them unworthy, all of them God’s Beloved. They were like a deep, long river of belovedness, flowing around me, a river that I stood in like Jesus getting baptized in the Jordan. Their belovedness began to sing. I saw the heavens torn open. I wish you could have been there.
So here’s a gift for you. Go out somewhere today where you’ll see a lot of people: a work place, the street, the mall, it doesn’t matter. Look at each person one by one. Say to yourself on their behalf, “You are God’s child, God’s Beloved, with whom God is well pleased.” Bless them all, one by one. Keep doing it. (Maybe you can make a habit of it.) Bless them, all, and see what it does to you.
Wind brooding over water,
grace raining incessantly,
water and the spirit.
Monsoons of blessing,
unseasonably warm with Presence,
clearing occasionally to a vision of unity,
since this storm of grace covers the planet.
Copyright © Steve Garnaas-Holmes