Who are we blessing?

Blessing the Backpacks - photo by Moses Leos III, Hays Free Press, Aug. 26, 2015
Blessing the Backpacks – photo by Moses Leos III, Hays Free Press, Aug. 26, 2015

by Fletcher Lowe

Did your congregation recently have a blessing of the backpacks as your students went off to school?  It’s becoming more and more an add-on to our Episcopal Liturgical calendar. Questions come to mind:

  • Were the students themselves and their parents also blessed?
  • What about the teachers and professors and the school administrators and their staffs and the principals and the members of the school and university boards—were they too blessed?

Well, they were blessed at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Chesterfield County, VA.  Those added blessings broaden the backpack “liturgy” to include and affirm those who are giving their God-given time and talent to the all-important educational enterprise.

Soon many congregations will celebrate St. Francis by having a blessing of the animals.

  • What about the “owners’ of those animals—will they, too, be blessed?
  • What about those who work in pet shops and zoos?
  • What about veterinarians and their co-workers?
  • What about SPCA and animal rescue workers and those who provide temporary care and shelter to foster animals?

Will they, too, be blessed and affirmed for their ministries with God’s blessed pets?  I hope so.  If not we are missing a significant teachable moment and opportunity to affirm the calling that people have in their daily life and work.

And then there is

  • Labor Day and
  • Luke’s Day (those in the medical profession) and
  • May 1- Lawyers’ Day and
  • August 15th Mary’s day (parents), etc…

Our Liturgical calendar is filled with opportunities to celebrate and affirm the ministries of the Baptized as they offer their God-given time and talent day by day.

What about Rogation Sunday (the sixth Sunday of Easter) when the means of production not only of farm and fishing but of all of us can be offered up as symbols of our daily life and work?

All of this helps a congregation connect with the real world of those who come in and are fed in order to go out into their worlds of home and community and work, rejoicing in the power of the Spirit.

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