Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Our Election Week Plan



"To bless means to say good things. We have to bless one another constantly. Parents need to bless their children, children their parents, spouses their partners, friends their friends. In our society, so full of curses, we must fill each place we enter with our blessings. We forget so quickly that we are God's beloved children and allow the many curses of our world to darken our hearts. Therefore we have to be reminded of our belovedness and remind others of theirs. Whether the blessing is given in words or with gestures, in a solemn or an informal way, our lives need to be blessed lives."
- Henri Nouwen


We, the people of Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church, are choosing to live in the real reality this week. We are spending the week BLESSING as our form of seeking to embody the truth that we all belong to God and we all belong to each other (i.e. the Kingdom of God).
  
WHAT BLESSING IS:

1- Blessing first acknowledges that everything comes from God. 
 it exists in God’s world and is part of this whole that God has put together. 

2- And then blessing sees a thing as it is, in its fullness, the darkness and the light of it, and embraces it.   
It holds it up to God’s care, and it enjoins it to be even more fully itself, to live as it was created to live.  (Eg., Hi there Squirrel! You are beautiful in all your nose-twitching, nut-burying, tree-planting, traffic-dodging squirrely-ness! Keep on squirrelling, making more squirrels and living out your squirrely part in this symphony of life!)

3- Blessing recognizes something and names it as valuable. 
It thanks God for its place in the whole.  Noticing and speaking truth, recognizing and appreciating, and saying aloud the gifts and benefits, the hopes and intentions of other people and things, this is blessing.

 4- Blessing others blesses us. 
Reminding others of their belovedness makes us live out our belovedness.  It reminds us we are all in this together, and that everything is a gift, (even the hard things).

WHAT BLESSING IS NOT:

 1- “Blessed” does not mean “lucky.” 
It can be the same circumstances, the same good thing happening to you, but to call it lucky
focuses on your worthiness or unworthiness to receive this gift.  It compares you to others who do or don’t get good things, and questions their worthiness or unworthiness.  And makes the gift itself arbitrary.  It’s a way of rejecting the gift even as you accept it – wow, that was lucky!  Subtext, it’s a fluke and I shouldn’t count on it!  
Blessed always goes back to the source.  To say something is a blessing is to say, “I accept this gift as a reminder of God’s good intentions for the world and of my belovedness in God.” 

3- Blessing is not just for "good" things.
Blessing recognizes the holiness that is already there, it reminds us that this place, this person, this opportunity is from God – by existing, it shares in God’s holy purposes, and thus it doesn’t matter what we think of it, whether we think it is worthy or not, God can use everything.
 So Blessing makes us pay attention, it says of any experience,
What might I miss if I don’t take notice? 
What can I appreciate that might open me to more?  
What might come of this?

4- Blessings are NOT something only "special," "holy" people can give.
That means Blessings are not perfection blackmail.  We don’t withhold Blessing until something achieves the “best” version of itself, we don't wait until someone is free of fault and weakness, or some situation is the way we want it to be before we bless it.  That would imply that blessing is earned; but blessing is gift.
In the same way, we don’t refrain from blessing others until we are somehow holy or complete or in a good place.  You can't earn the right to bless, that too is a gift. 

We are called to continually receive life as a gift that speaks of God’s good intentions and how much God loves us, and then to continually give that reminder to others.

WAYS TO BLESS:

1- Notice 
Blessing can be as simple as pausing and noticing, the noisy world waking up, the birds and and sunrise and crisp morning air and giving thanks

 2- Touch
It can be gently laying a hand on your son’s head as he sleeps, holding hands with your beloved, or hugging your friend. Connecting with one another as human beings through touch.

3- Words
It can be speaking out about someone to them- recognizing their strengths, celebrating their humor or their honesty. It can be a friendly greeting to a stranger, expressing a simple thanks to someone in a seemingly ordinary, otherwise overlooked moment.

4- Actions
Blessing can be giving a gift for no reason at all, or reaching out to help someone with whatever their need is in the moment.  It can be doing a loved one's chore for them when they aren't looking, or a random act of kindness for a stranger.  

5- Intentions
Blessing can be simply pausing and holding up a person or situation to God and welcoming God's love and hope upon them.

Opportunities to bless come across our path dozens of times a day. 
This week we are going to watch for them and seize the moment to share blessing.

Pronouncing a blessing puts you as close to God as you can get.  To learn to look with compassion on everything that is…to make the first move toward the other, however many times it takes to get close; to open your arms to what is instead of waiting until it is what it should be, to surrender the justice of your own cause for mercy, to surrender the priority of your own safety for love – this is to land at God’s breast.” 
- Barbara Brown Taylor

Join us, if you'd like, in a week of blessing!
We begin now!

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