“Blessing.” It’s a word we use in myriad ways, isn’t it? One way my family uses the word is for the prayers we say before each meal. Now, those who’ve been around 5th Grade boys know that they’re legendary for the ways they take the blessing at a meal and add their pre- pubescent humor to it. This is probably why most of us don’t call on 5th Grade boys to offer the blessing on occasions that call for some decorum.
I once served a new church start for the conference that owed its financial existence to a well-known, wealthy, generous, United Methodist layman. From time to time the grand old businessman would call me on a Sunday morning informing me that he was coming to worship to see how things were going and then he’d more “tell than ask” me that he was taking my family out to dine.
Worship went off without a hitch and he was duly impressed. Why, I could almost hear the sound of his check tearing out of his check book. This had been his practice when he was pleased and motivated to support our ministry even more! He took us to a fine restaurant and looked at our mischievous then eleven-year-old, Ian, and barked, “You say our blessing, son.” My heart sank! The stakes seemed so high as were the odds of Ian choosing from his repertoire either, “Through the lips, over the gums, look out stomach, here it comes!” or his, “Good food, good meat, good God, let’s eat!” prayer. 5th Grader “blessing humor” isn’t very original!
“Sure,” Ian cheerily piped up as the beads of sweat began to roll down my face. “Let us pray,” he said as only PKs (preacher’s kids) can intone. Both my eyes and teeth were clinched. But to my amazement this is what I heard:
“Be present at our table, Lord, be here and everywhere adored; thy creatures bless and grant that we may feast in paradise with thee!” Ian prayed the famous meal blessing of John Wesley. After Ian said, “Amen,” I could have sworn I saw the old Wesleyan benefactor wipe a tear from his cheek. I would have given that boy anything he asked for at that moment. A blessing I expected to be so wrong went so right!
We children of God can be so right and so wrong about “blessings” and not just those at meals! Join us this month in worship as we begin a new lectionary-based sermon series entitled, “Blessings!” We’ll explore Biblically how God often blesses, surprising people, for surprising purposes, and in surprising ways. We’ll see where we get it “right” and “wrong” regarding “Blessings” but most of all we shall see where and how we experience them! See you at Christ Church worship this Sunday.
Michael F. Bailey