Replacing the Whole Blessing Thing

One of the joys of being a clergy person is that clergy are invited into people’s lives to bless things. We bless animals, babies, homes, and even cars. I have been asked to bless all sorts of jewelry and grown ups at weddings. Each Sunday we bless the congregation as the worship ends and the service begins.


Of all the things that I have been asked to bless there is a common element to them all. The things that we bless are whole. They are complete. They are finished. I have not blessed a broken bone. I have not blessed a crack in a house. I have not blessed a ring that is missing a stone.

The only exception to the “bless what is whole” rule is communion.

It is incredible to me that Jesus blesses bread and wine and then instantly breaks and pours it out. Can you imagine blessing a house then immediately breaking a window? Each communion we replace the “bless what is whole” rule with “bless what is broken” rule.

For all the times we feel less than whole. For all the people who are treated less than whole. Jesus blesses you. Not in your wholeness. You are blessed in the brokenness.

What sort of God is this that intentionally blesses the broken?

Treating Conditions as Problems

In the winter we all know that the days run a bit shorter on sunshine. It is the way the whole rotation and tilt of the Earth works. It is something we all know is the condition of the planet, something we all learn to live with. We don't try to fix it because we know it is not a problem as it is a condition. 

This is not to say that shorter days in the winter is not something we all enjoy. I like sunshine and I prefer summer to winter largely because of the amount of sun that is available. But I know that winter is not a problem but a condition that we all live with, so I don't try to "fix" it.

There are so many things in our lives that are conditions that we refuse to see as conditions but problems. For instance, I struggle with anger and frustration. It does not take much to get me to "pissed off". I have addressed this in so many ways from counseling to meditation to journaling to breathing while counting to ten. I have tried self medicating with substances like wine and beer, I have tired to punch a pillow. Nothing has worked, I still get angry and I feel guilty that I get so mad.

It was not until I worked with a spiritual mentor that I came to understand that my anger and frustration are not problems that need to be solved, but conditions that I ought to learn to live with. And I can tell you, the more I embrace my anger as a condition rather than a problem the less frequent I experience anger. 

I understand there are real problems in our lives, however we may be too quick to diagnose a condition as a problem. 

What would it look like if you re-diagnosed the problem in your life as a condition that you need to learn to live with? Can you discover the freedom that comes from embracing this condition rather than trying to "solve" it? Can you come to see that the problem may not only be a condition but may also be the very thing you need in order to live a whole life? 

May the Lord torment you

The past week I encountered a woman named Sheila Richards who has a habit of sharing a particular benediction of retired Indiana Conference Bishop White. He contributed this benediction to the now no longer in print United Methodist Reporter. Since she shared it with me I thought others may resonate with it. 

May the Lord torment you. May the Lord disturb you. May the Lord keep before you the faces of the despised, rejected, lonely and oppressed. May the Lord give you strength and courage and compassion to make this a better world. And may you do your very best to make this a better city, a better state, a better world. And after you have done your best, may the Lord grant you peace. Amen.