Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transparent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~ Sara Ban Breathnach

Monday, April 25, 2011

Week VI - The Blessing Cup

After a weekend of emotional highs...followed by emotional highs, I am surprised to be surprised by something new this morning.  Honestly?  I did not think my tired head had the capacity to become curious so early on the Monday morning following Easter. Yet, that is what Joyce has done by introducing me...broadening my perceptions...of "the" Cup.
Each step...leaving a blessing.

Once again, Joyce turns to the 13th century Muslim poet, Rumi, quoting him:
"Wherever you place your foot, there rests a blessing."
In today's world I hear so much about my carbon footprint and the impact of that footprint on the world, I am feeling a bit confused and amazed by considering each of my footprints as a blessing.  Yet, the expanding of my mind and perceptions does not end there.  Joyce continues:
"Perhaps the best known 'cup' in the scriptures is that of the blessing cup in 1 Cor 10:16: 'The blessing cup that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ?' The cup of blessing is a term derived from the Jewish Passover rite, meaning not only that the cup is blessed, but that the cup itself holds a blessing. It holds the gift of life." (Joyce Rupp, The Cup of Life, p 131)

What are they, Joyce asks on this Monday morning after Easter.

How do they come?

What do they do for us?

I checked several sites and after defining "Blessings" as prayers, Blessings are also defined as: "to consecrate or to hallow by a religious rite or words; to make or pronounce holy or sacred."
"To bless is not so much to 'make sacred,' however, as it is to acknowledge the sacredness that is already there. All creation is sacred because it was made by God.To bless anything of creation, be this a person or an object, is to acknowledge the touch of the Creator upon that person or object." (Ibid)
Joyce continues to stretch my heart by suggesting that wherever we (I) place our (my) feet - wherever we are - can be a blessing IF we are aware of the inherent sacredness and beauty of that place.


That 'place' she says, might be the heart of another person or the limb of a newly budded tree or a fuzzy caterpillar climbing a drainpipe.
"Attentiveness to the present moment is essential for a blessing to truly communicate the life and beauty of God to us. 'Calling forth' a blessing is actually a naming of the goodness that is already there." (Rupp, p 132)
Jackie Nowak
Some times I have to hear a message three times...and often in three different ways to really get it! Such is the case with "Blessings."  I have heard this before and was moved and energized by the learning!  But, then the daily work within my new learning became pushed back into one of the dark closets of my mind. Still, the learning was there, stored, ready for the next invitation.  I have heard this before from Jackie Nowak of The Blessing Center in Dayton, Ohio.

But, for continue with Joyce:
"In the Hebrew scriptures a blessing is perceived to be something that communicates divine life. With this life comes strength, stamina, and inner peace. Blessings or berakahs ( Original Word: בְּרָכָהwere often shared by the Jewish people. When they prayed 'blessed are you, O God...' they were acknowledging with gratitude all that God had done for them." (Ibid)

I THINK this is new for me because it has always seemed strange that "I" bless GOD the creator of all I am and see!!!  I thought I was acknowledging with gratitude...yet it always felt funny to do that as a "blessing."

Now, this is more familiar to me:
"Blessings were given for a variety of purposes: to invoke divine care; to pray for someone; to regard another with favor; to bring happiness; to guard, preserve, protect, and to keep safe; to give good fortune or satisfaction; and to approve or encourage another. Whenever God blesses, there emerges bounteous life and an abundance of goodness." (Ibid)

As an old man, God blessed Abraham
with descendants, more than stars in the sky.
Joyce names one of the first examples that comes to my mind, the blessing/s of Abraham within several chapters of the book of Genesis.As I write this, I thought how Abraham laughed at the suggestion of some of God's blessings, yet the character in the story remains faithful to listening to God, to living out of relationship with God...and the blessings follow.  The blessings were given and then follow through faithfulness AND not always as Abraham's human mind could perceive happening.

Held in God's Embrace

"Anyone and anything that brings good or God-ness into our lives is a blessings. To bless is to bring the touch of God, the touch of love and goodness, to another by our presence as well as by our actions. Blessings are a greeting from God, saying 'I care about you. I desire what will be for your good. You are dear to my heart. I want your life to be filled with love." (Ibid)

I like the image of "God-ness."

SQuire Rushnell has written When God Winks, stories of "coincidences" that are so unbelievable, they must come from a powerful source... An interview with a wonderful story/God Wink about Emmett Kelly's daughter upon his death...

SQuire shares that God Winks are to give us "hugs" to give comfort when life is difficult.

"Blessings are not always immediate, 'feel good' sorts of things. Sometimes these blessings come disguised in the pain, struggle, and hardship of the unwanted parts of our lives. It is only later, with hindsight, that we look and see what a gift those times and events were for us." (Ibid)

Can you tell I do not read Joyce's entire reading AND then go back and journal?  "Blessings are not always immediate..." It is nice when the ah-ha comes and is then reinforced. I am learning that if I read and journal in small pieces, my learning/my ah-has are richer and deeper than if I read the entire lesson and then go back.  But...what works for for me.  I know others have a different way of working through Joyce's readings that work for them.

"Blessings sometimes come disguised..." I have written in past postings about the "blessing" of the last car accident.  HOWEVER, the realization that my brokenness was a blessing, only came in hindsight....much/much/later. All the stories I have read and shared within worship over these past several weeks of Lent and Holy Week...the blessing within those encounters and events were not seen as blessings at the time!  It was only in hindsight that the disciples understood all that Jesus had told them...and given.  And they were receiving "God-ness" in the flesh....and it was still in hindsight that they recognized the blessing.

"As you pray though these days with the 'blessing cup,' may you grow in awareness of the countless blessings that are yours. May you become much more aware of how you yourself are a blessing in the lives of others by the loving quality of who you are and what you do. Mos of all, may your love and appreciation of the Giver of all Gifts, the best of all blessings, continue to grow and be enriched." (Ibid)

I've just received a wonderful blessing, that even though it was written several years ago in a book AND many have read the same this moment I claim this blessing.  Prayerfully, as I remain will  come in ways....perhaps ways I have not considered..

A wonderful way to begin a new day...a new week!  The Blessing Song.

Gifting God,

Tie a ribbon of remembrance around my heart,
so that I can often recall those sacred places
where you have made yourself known in the hidden recesses of my life.

Stir up my memory-cup, let me look deeply within it, seeing all the people and events that have led me to you.

Refresh the photographs of my mind where the vivid traces of your love are etched in our relationship, and marked upon my memory.

As I gaze into my personal history unlock the storage spaces of my soul,
reveal the truth of your bountiful love, fill my heart with awe and gratitude.

God of Beauty, the blessings of your loveliness astounds my being,
the power of your presence enriches my every moment.
Blessed are you. Blessed are you. ~ Joyce Rupp (Rupp, p 133)

Many Blessings ~ Sandi


  1. May the steps I take this morning be reminders of the blessings I have been given and the blessing I can be to others.

  2. Loved the poem to start this chapter.