Blessing: A Channel of the Divine

posted Feb 5, 2021, 10:49 AM by Tricia Sheffield

Dear Middletown Reformed Church Family and Friends,


Blessings of Epiphany light and joy to you!


As many of you know, I am one who collects books of blessings and prayers, and I have often shared or read various blessings during worship or at small group meetings. This week, I was reading the Introduction to one of my favorite blessing books — Circle of Grace — by Jan Richardson. She describes a blessing as, “An ancient literary form, a blessing is a distinctive constellation of words designed to call upon and convey God’s deepest desire for our wholeness and well-being, both individually and in community . . . Yet . . . there is nothing inherently magical about a blessing. A blessing will not fix us. It will not, of itself, resolve the difficulty we are in or undo harm we have caused or received. Instead, a blessing is a channel of the Divine, a profound means of grace that has the capacity to open our eyes so that we might recognize and receive the help of the One who created us in love and whose deepest desire for us is that we be whole."


I’ve been reflecting on this definition of blessing and what it means not only for us as a church family, but also for how we live in community with the larger world. And I’m wondering, how have we blessed one another this week? What words of support, comfort, and reassurance have we offered to someone? Certainly, as Richardson notes, blessings won’t fix us, or anyone for that matter. But words are very powerful and double-edged; they can either give life, or they can destroy worlds.


In two weeks we will enter into the season of Lent, a time in which to look inward, clean out the spiritual clutter, and walk with Jesus to the cross and resurrection. For this season amid such challenging and extraordinary pandemic times, I am praying that we at Middletown Reformed Church will commit to being a channel of God’s blessings. I am praying we will continue to be the church that uses our words to breathe life and build up one another as the body of Christ. I am praying we will be intentional about blessing one another. I am praying that our blessings will demonstrate that we believe and hope more powerfully than we grieve.


I look forward to gathering online as the body of Christ at 10:15 AM to chat with one another, and then bless and worship together at 10:30 AM via Zoom or on our YouTube channel. Judith Daugherty will stir our souls with the following musical pieces — “Precious Lord, Take My Hand”; “There Is a Balm in Gilead”; and “Let Us Break Bread Together.” I will be preaching from Mark 1.29-39 and my sermon title is Heal, Pray, Teach. Also, we will celebrate the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper together so please have bread and wine/juice with you during worship. 


Our world is groaning to be healed and made whole; surely, this is God’s greatest desire for us. So, let’s offer words that channel God’s healing and joy. I’ll start. Receive this blessing, beloved one — "May all that is unforgiven in you be released. May your fears yield their deepest tranquilities. May all that is unlived in you blossom into a future graced with love" (John O’Donohue).


 In gratitude for the privilege of being your pastor and the holy call of loving you,


Pastor Trish

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