…I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. Genesis 12:2
Today, October 4, is the feast of St. Francis. On Saturday October 6 at 5pm we will have a blessing of animals. The picture above is of my Maltese/poodle mix dog, Dobby* who sits here beside me as I write. He has been such a blessing. The unconditional love, the excitement to see me when I return from work, the affection of sitting in my lap are all a blessing. The rolling in dead stuff and then coming in the house all stinky, chewing up papers, scratching at the door in the middle of the night for no apparent reason except he is awake- not such blessings.
This week in Confirmation we reflected upon the story of God’s relationship with Abraham and Sarah and how God blessed them so that they would be a blessing. They were far from perfect and God’s grace and love were not conditional upon their deserving of it. The blessing of Abraham and Sarah was about a God who blesses.
Growing up the Priestly blessing from Numbers 6:24-26 (the instructions to Moses to tell Aaron to bless the people Israel) was the benediction that I heard every Sunday at the end of the worship service:
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.
There is a story that St. Francis wrote this blessing from Numbers on a piece of paper for a friend who carried it around for more than forty years. Blessings matter. The blessing of unconditional love from a pet. The blessing of a friend who picks up the phone to call to see how we are . The blessing of time shared to teach middle schoolers that their names are important to know just as the names of Abraham and Sarah are important to know. Blessings matter.
This week as I have been reflecting on blessings these many strands are being woven together. Blessed to be a blessing. As we bring our animals to be blessed we are also being called to be a blessing to others. What we freely receive, we are called to freely share. I hope you can join in the service of blessing of animals on Saturday October 6 at 5pm even if you don’t have an animal to bring. And on Sunday morning we will be blessed by the presence of our bishop Jim Gonia joining us in worship at 8am and 10:30am. He will bring blessings with him and he will be blessed by being with us.
Today how will you both receive blessings and be a blessing? I invite you into holy curiosity- with eyes of faith and a heart open to see how you are blessed and called to be a blessing. It’s worth counting these blessings as they are fuel for the journey.
*Dobby was named after the character in Harry Potter - thanks to Dan and Sophie. He loves to find socks and carry them around