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

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Week VI - Day 1 - The Blessing Cup

I smiled when I recognized the name from the quote this morning! Macrina Wiederkehr is the author of my next book study, A Tree Full of Angels - Seeing the Holy in the Ordinary.  I chose the book for three reasons...

  1. Joyce has used Macrina's quotes and insights several times throughout The Cup of Life.  Each time I've experienced a slight, nudge of appreciation or newness.
  2. I asked friends on Facebook for suggestions of titles to follow The Cup of Life.  Three people, who do not know one another and are very different from each other, suggested Macrina's book, A Tree Full of Angels.
  3. Lastly, I have mentioned the "Sister" from my church who first introduced me to God Winks.  I have so enjoyed contemplating on this phenomenon.  Thus, I was drawn to the idea of "Seeing the Holy in the Ordinary." I am guessing it will probably be the first of next week before I begin journaling with this book.
But! Back to the present moment! Joyce begins the devotion of The Blessing Cup with a quote from Macrina, saying, "To bless is to put a bit of yourself into something. It is to make holy, to change something or someone because of your presence."

I like the idea of "putting a bit of myself" into something.  From this thought, there is more within a blessing than just saying some nice words.  There is action within those words.

I appreciate that Joyce reminds her reader that it is not only clergy who have the POWER or the ABILITY to bless. 
"Each of us can offer blessings. Each of us can be a blessing, too. When we bless, it is God's deep and vast goodness, or God-ness, in us that blesses another. When we bless, we touch another with the touch of this God-ness." (Joyce Rupp, The Cup of Life, p 135)
But, then Joyce continues, saying something I had not thought of before...
"Jesus does not bestow or offer many blessings. Rather, he becomes a blessing. His presence, his goodness, engenders life, strength, healing, courage, and vitality."  
I had never considered this...that Jesus does not offer many blessings, rather he became a blessing... I was curious and Goggled several image searches... I found Jesus healing, pictures of others blessing, and sayings... However, as I sit with this... I would bet that Jesus might have blessed the children who gathered around him.  Yes, he was a blessing to these youngest and sometimes forgotten people of the culture...but I would still bet he blessed the children.  I will have to add this question to my "When I see Jesus..." list...

Joyce shares that many people have blessed her life AND unless she has thanked them, many of them are probably unaware of how they having done so. Joyce gives examples of blessings (smiles, stories, affirmations...).  I thought of some of my blessings:
  • Handwritten notes telling me how something I have done/said has blessed them....
  • Notes/pictures left by children on the pulpit Bible or stuck to my office door. I LOVE these surprises.
  • A slobbery kiss from one of my grandkids or a hug from a daughter or son.
  • A loving glance from one of my parents.
  • Stories shared while sitting in a hospital/nursing home, or in the comfort of one's own home.
  • A surprise gift from India or a print of Jesus. Of a watercolor painting of prayer from the Mercy Center in St. Louis and a painting done on a feather from South America.
  • Having a prayer said for "me."
  • Friends/Daughters willing to walk alongside me to complete a Mini following my accident and then continuing to listen, encourage, be a safe place...
  • A small crystal to hang close to my work area so that it might remind me to "never forget to dream of rainbows.'
Joyce shares a blessing she received from a woman before she (Joyce) wrote her first book. Joyce felt an urgent need to be blessed by this woman, knowing she needed strength and encouragement.  She admits that she does not remember what Emily said; what she does remember is the profound sense of gratitude and peace that came over her as Emily took her hands and held them palms up, with great tenderness.
"I felt strength and courage well up in me. I knew then that not only did she believe in me, but that her goodness, her presence or God-ness was also blessing me. I left that place with renewed stamina and deepened hope, believing that the work I was about to do would be fruitful. Emily died of cancer several years after that blessing. I think of her often when I am using my hands for writing." (Rupp, p136)
The God-ness in me...when given to then given to another...
We are all on a different place on this journey of life and faith. So many things have shaped the person we are at this moment.  There have been times in my life, it would have been difficult to appreciate or even be aware of a blessing, while other times blessings seem to keep my cup running over. Regardless of where I am at this moment, Joyce offers yet another blessing by expressing the "hope" that I can pause today and believe in the possibility and the power of blessings.

Breathing in: My God-ness....
Breathing out: ...blessing others

Blessing Hands
Hold the cup in your hands.
Wrap your hands around the cup.
Remember the God-ness dwelling within you.
Think about people who have blessed you.
How did they do this?
Think about how you have blessed others.
Give thanks for the God-ness in you.
Give thanks for the ability to bless and be blessed.

Scripture: 1 Peter 3:8-12
...repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called - that you might inherit a blessing (1 Peter 3:9)

I experienced my God-ness blessing others when I...
These people have especially been a blessing for me:
Blessed One...

These people have especially been a blessing for me: Once again, it is obvious I do not read ahead.  I will say however, that as I wrote about some of the blessings I have received from others, I once again experienced that sense of peaceful there's a term for you!  Peaceful Fullness....

I suspect that this might be similar to a full cup...a cup full of blessing upon blessing.

I experienced my God-ness blessing others when I... have been fortunate to realize the "gift" someone has perceived as receiving from me...wasn't "me." I had not thought of it as God-ness within of me or my God-ness. I have thought of my hands being used by God... When any of these realizations hit me...I am the one blessed!  Thinking about those times....I have the same sense of Peaceful Fullness that I experienced just a moment ago.

This idea of "Blessing" is really touching my heart in a way that I had not expected.  I wonder if the five weeks of writing before this has sensitized my heart in a way that enables it to appreciate Joyce's thoughts and wisdom in a way I might not have in early March?  For all the growing within me... Blessed One... I thank you and praise you.

I found a video that although it is not "Christian" it holds great spiritual truths that I have no hesitancy holding in my hands and within my heart...

After watching this video again, I was surprised by how Joyce's prayer seems to be reflected in many of the words and images of the video.  Once again, God amazes me and surprises me by all the ways he uses to bring about his kingdom here on earth...

The practice of blessing with my God-ness,
offering the gift of  loving presence.
Blessed are you, God, Source of all goodness. The boundless beauty and unlimited love of your presence blesses me at every moment of my existence. May your goodness radiate from me and bring the blessing of your loving touch to each person with whom I share life.

I will intentionally bless each person I meet today with the gift of my loving presence.

Many Blessings ~ Sandi

1 comment:

  1. Thankful today for my ability to bless and be blessed. May I "be" in each moment long enough to recognize this.