Recipe for Blessing the Broken Hearted

Blessing is one of those thing that clergy do. Sometimes it’s something only clergy do though I know well that even as clergy I often wonder what gives me the authority to offer blessing.

Years ago, this beautiful video was created by some talented folks within the United Church of Christ. It was part of a series and I was so inspired by it when I attended a related event way back when but I barely remember the details now. I do remember this video though.

As always, the SALT Project has created something beautiful and it seems to me like a wonderful resource to use in blessing each other. I shared a blessing at the end of Our Whole Hearts. I didn’t give any directions for how to use it but hoped that it would be used during Lent. If you haven’t purchased your own copy yet, here is that blessing.

I hope that it is used but what I really hope is that there is even more blessing that happens. Remember when the pandemic began and it felt like we were all in this together? There was a sense that we were sharing in this gigantic group project and we were bringing out the best in each other. We saw what it looks like when people choose to be a blessing. Now, it seems that people are choosing something else, anything else. We have seen people splinter and separate and the division between us and them has only intensified.

What we need is blessing. We need to recognize the blessing that each human life offers and make space for all of the heartbreak that we are each carrying.

It may be that I have toddlers at home and my entire being is put into raising them into fierce young women. I find myself saying “use your words” more often than not and maybe that’s why I think this is wisdom not just for those in the under 5 set. We need to use our words for more than our frustrations and our outrage. We need to bless the world, each other and especially God.

We need practice calling each other beloved and feeling like we ourselves are beloved. We need to see God loving us and understand that love has no end. That love goes on and on through every toil and snare, pandemic or endemic. So I cooked up this recipe for us to practice this during Lent and beyond Lent because the work won’t be done. We will need to practice again and again until we can what God sees.

I wrote this recipe as one that could be used individually but it could certainly work with a group working together and sharing ideas. In fact, it might work better to share in those questions and have the group share in offering words of affirmation and blessing with each other.

For so many of us, words make us feel like we have no business blessing another. We feel like we need to say the exact right thing. I know that I’ve felt that standing at bedsides and hospital beds. I’ve stumbled over my words and wished that I had the exact words that would grant peace and hope. I hope that this recipe allows people to find some words and search for others that might rest in their hands for when those words are needed most but I also wonder if there might be another layer on this invitation. Maybe it’s ordering cards like these wisdom cards to offer in moments of blessing. Or maybe it’s making your own blessing cards by decorating small pocket-size cards full of blessings from scripture. It could be a fun shared moment of creativity across the generations.

I hope this recipe helps you and your people cook up some wonderful blessings this Lent. I pray those blessings are healing and bring us all closer to wholeness. And if you’re curious to learn more about the resources I’ve created for Lent, you can find a bit more information here.

Keep cooking, dear pastor.

3 thoughts on “Recipe for Blessing the Broken Hearted

  1. And I get to be a supply preacher in a church which is using your materials … only one Sunday but after and two + month stint I’m pretty happy not to be in over my heart. Excited.

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  2. Hi Elsa.

    You probably won’t remember me, I am a member at UCC in Austin and you have been very kind to me. I struggle, struggle, struggle with being a flawed human doing church and being church with other flawed humans. I fall short and they fall short and then I beat myself up trying to get over all of our mistakes and forgive. I’m attaching a picture of me with my daughter so that this email seems less weird.

    I wanted you to know that I really love your emails. I know they are intended for clergy but I used them in work with the youth during the pandemic and they never fail to help me feel more connected to God and the Church.

    I became a certified yoga instructor during the pandemic and as I read your blessing post I was struck by the similarity between a blessing and the closing of a yoga class …today we inhaled our hands up and exhaled our hands back to prayer position, returning our hands to our hearts, remembering that we always return to our hearts, the best part of ourselves. And then we always say something like the light within me honors the light within you. It feels like a blessing.

    It was lovely to see and hear your prayer at Anna’s installation.

    Thank you for being a light for me. I hope the girls are well.

    Laura

    On Wed, Feb 23, 2022 at 9:40 AM Cooking with Elsa wrote:

    > Elsa Anders Cook posted: ” Blessing is one of those thing that clergy do. > Sometimes it’s something only clergy do though I know well that even as > clergy I often wonder what gives me the authority to offer blessing. Years > ago, this beautiful video was created by some talented fo” >

    Like

    1. Oh I love this Laura. And it’s so true about that yoga movement — and I love that you both find that connection and are using these things with youth. AMAZING! I really miss that church and it was a delight to be involved in the tiniest bit in the installation. Love on everyone there for me, including yourself.

      Like

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