This week we asked our bloggers to share a liturgy they’ve crafted.
In our annual service of healing and wholeness, we’ve started to offer prayer stations, including a place to receive a mark of oil on hand or forehead. Here, as the oil touches your bare skin and the fragrance rises to your nose, you hear a prayer: “You are a child of God, claimed and precious in God’s sight.”
This blessing is short; the oil only reminds us that we are bodies in need of a gentle touch. Neither word nor deed pretends that we are more than creatures of our sovereign Creator — yet it acknowledges that, in our creatureliness, our gracious God has cloaked us with something precious and profound.
I’m reminded again how many of us need healing and wholeness. And yet, those who seem most in need of a blessing often are the ones who are teaching us how to shower blessings upon others.
Thus, with gratitude for the teachers in my present and past worshiping communities, with eagerness to understand again how God is working through us, I offer this blessing:
Look upon these your children, claimed and named by the breath of your Spirit.
Pour your Spirit into this time and space.
Flood us again with the knowledge of our own belovedness. Enfold us in your holy embrace.
Bless these ears, the ones that hear laughter and know graciously, unabashedly, how to rejoice alongside it.
Bless these ears, the ones that hear weeping and know simply, profoundly, how to listen.
Bless these ears, the ones that hear whining and know, kindly, honestly, how to bring it to a close.
Bless these hands, the ones that reveal the shared grace of a hug and the communal exuberance of a high-five.
Bless these hands, the ones that volunteer to sign the twentieth sympathy card and the ones that spoon out the two hundredth community meal.
Bless these hands, the fledgling ones gripping their first communion in concentration and the world-worn ones reaching your broken body towards the hospital bed.
Bless these lips, the ones that cannot hold back their joy and the ones that will not restrain their lament.
Bless these lips, the ones that shape words of forgiveness or apology without tallying the count.
Bless these lips, the ones that show us again how deep an unvarnished prayer can go.
Bless these eyes, the ones that see what needs fixing and fixes it; who needs a visit and visits them; where God is pointing and follows.
Bless these eyes, the ones that have witnessed years of traditions and preachers—and yet still believe that the Holy Spirit can do something new.
Bless these eyes, the ones that seek and seek and seek your Kingdom and will not rest until they gaze upon its justice and peace.
Holy One of Infinite Creativity,
Bless these, your bodies, so that by our living, we might remember how we have our being in you.
Bless these, your minds, so that by our thinking, we might discover how you have ignited new faith within us.
Bless these, your spirits, so that, through them, we might know again that we are part of a great cloud of witnesses, alive and at work in the world, by the grace and power of your Holy Spirit.
KATHRYN LESTER-BACON is the associate pastor at Second Presbyterian Church in Richmond, Virginia.