To say that this coming year will be a summer that will be unlike any other we have experienced in our lifetimes (for most of us), is an understatement. As I prepared to write this column, I began to wonder about the message I wanted to share with you as your minister as we end this very strange church year and move into a time of respite, of embracing at least the part of our transcendentalist roots that focus on nature. The answer came clear to me as I looked at our Soul Matters packet on what it means to be a people of blessing. It’s known by a few titles: a Franciscan Benediction, or “Four-Fold Benedictine Blessing”, or “A Franciscan Benediction”. This was written by Sister Ruth Marlene Fox, a Benedictine nun, for a student group she led in 1985. It’s actual title is a “Non-Traditional Blessing”, and it seemed fitting that I offer them to you at these very non-traditional times as a blessing to move into our summer months with. Sister Ruth’s words are in italics, and I’ve added to them with my own blessing to you.
May God bless us with discomfort
At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships
So that we may live from deep within our hearts.
May you be blessed with time with loved ones over these hazy, dazey, warm days of summer that seem to stretch on forever. May you be blessed with time spent in connection with those whom you love – the kind of connection that reaches into the depths of your soul.
May God bless us with anger
At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of God’s creations
So that we may work for justice, freedom, and peace.
May you be blessed with eyes that begin to see the injustice that exists all around us. May you be blessed with a heart that opens to anger at the incidents of racism, intolerance, and fear that keep so many people’s hearts closed. May you be blessed to see your inner beauty and the inner beauty that lives within each living being in creation.
May God bless us with tears
To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war,
So that we may reach out our hands to comfort them and
To turn their pain into joy.
May you be blessed with a heart that is open enough to weep at the pain in the world. May you be blessed with hands that become active agents of comfort and compassion. May you be blessed to see your reflection in all of those who suffer in your lives so that our hands are able to provide comfort and compassion.