Last week, I spent two days in Boston to find the encouragement to Bless! This is one of the innovative things that is happening in the United Church of Christ — not just at Old South Church in Boston who hosted the event — but in the entire denomination. Local Church Ministries has created this new initiative to give small grants to particular congregations that are really doing something well. With that grant, the church can do anything they want to teach others about their ministry. Old South Church in Boston does worship really well. That’s their thing. So, they wanted to encourage other churches across our denomination to create knock-your-sock-off fantastic worship.
In this invitation, the pastors of this congregation told the story about how ever so slowly they asked the worshiping community to realize the power of their hands. It started with the children. They would offer blessings. They would reach out both hands above their heads. They would look toward that thing that needed blessing — the bread, the water, the baby — and they would pray silently. Then the pastor would speak a prayer as each hand is outstretched to offer that person or that thing the love of God.
We were asked to do this several times over these two days. We blessed the bread as we sat in a circle only to realize that we were looking into each others eyes. We blessed the food that we shared. We blessed. And in each moment, perhaps from lack of blood flow, I felt a tingle in my hands. I felt something warm in the palm of my hand — something that I can only imagine to be God. In a world where I feel so powerless to change the way things are, I really needed that reminder that God is in me. God is in my hands. I didn’t need to hear that assurance. I needed to feel it. Perhaps we all do. Perhaps we all need to realize the power in our own hands.