Happy Sunday! Below you will find the worship service I shared this morning. If you just want to listen to the sermon you can fast forward to about 9:26. I’ve shared the transcript below.
Bless to Me
Passages: Special Moments
This week we have a second scripture, this one from the book of Luke chapter 1
“When the time came for Elizabeth to have her child, she gave birth to a boy… John’s father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, “Bless the Lord God of Israel because he has come to help and has delivered his people. He has raised up a mighty savior for us in his servant David’s house, just as he said through the mouths of his holy prophets long ago…”
This week we are talking about passages or special moments. This was a very special moment in the life of Elizabeth, Zechariah and of their son John. It was a special moment for all God’s people!
Would you please pray with me? May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all of our hearts and minds be acceptable to you, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.
Our introduction talks about rites of passage, those once in a life time moments. In the church these moments might be Baptism, Third grade Bible presentation, Confirmation, and so on. In our family life it might be moving from one grade to another, graduations or getting your driver’s license. And of course it can all vary from family to family, culture to culture.
One of the first rites of passage I thought of as I began planning for this service was one from the movie, “A Christmas Story.” You knew it would be something from Christmas right? Anyway, I thought of Ralphie and his Red Ryder BB gun. His dad talked about how it was past time and how when he was certain age he too got one! He spoke of it as if it was a rite of passage. Shannon did the same when he decided it was time for Spencer to have his first BB gun.
As I looked through this chapter of our book, Christ Beside Me, Christ Within Me, I read all the different passages or special moments the author highlighted… Births, First day of School, Birthdays, graduations, death of a pet, marriage… these are all special moments that are a sort of passage for us, a passage from one place in life to another.
These special times, these rites of passage are made even more special when we take time to celebrate them, to surround them with words and blessings.
In case ya’ll haven’t noticed, I am a huge fan of words. I use them a lot and I also enjoy writing so… some of the ‘rites of passage’ for my children included letters from this mom. For high school graduation, I wrote out what I wanted to say to and about the kids for their graduation ceremony because I didn’t want to forget anything! When Spencer and Girl Shannon got married, I wrote them each a letter about this special day and their future together.
But even for lesser occasions we can make them special. When the kids had any kind of performance we would go get ice cream to celebrate! When something bad would happen, we go get ice cream! When Shannon deployed, after the crying was over, we’d go get ice cream! When he returned, we would go get ice cream… In our house ice cream is the way we celebrate and commiserate, but it’s one way we really highlight whatever it is that is going on in our family.
One of the things I have really loved about learning more about the Celtic tradition has been the idea of noticing, celebrating, focusing, and blessing even the ordinary everyday things.
I have cousins who do this so well. They celebrate rites of passage like I’ve never seen before. Whether it be special birthdays, sports events, performances, graduations (from everything) and so on, they make big family events out of them. They work to make sure their kids passages are special and blessed. Sometimes, watching them on Facebook celebrate these passages in life, I feel like I failed my kids! I know I didn’t, I just did it differently and maybe not so often but I think somewhere in time, some of us have lost this art of celebrating these passages, these special moments, even the ordinary ones but I’m learning how very important this is and I’m making note for my future grandchildren.
It’s almost like when we are going through these things ourselves, such as graduation for example, we think we don’t need it. It’s no big deal but as we have found out through this time of pandemic, it is! That last football game, prom, and and so on are all important.
As a parent of homeschooling kids, I worried about how to make graduation special when there would be no formal ceremony with class mates. We weren’t in pandemic so we were able to have a party for the kids and take a few special moments to celebrate the kids with our own little version of commencement with Mom and Dad celebrating the kids with words and gifts all in the presence of family and friends. At the time, both kids thought it was silly but I hope that in time they will look back and remember how special it was and how special it made them feel, even if it felt a little silly at the time.
I feel like I’ve gotten off topic here a little bit but the point I’m trying to get to is that we can make these already special moments even more so when we surround them with words and acts of blessings. By doing so we are reminded that we are not alone, that we have family and friends cheering us on in this life and that God is always present and with us.
When each of my kids moved out, we were there as a family, loading and unloading the truck, packing and unpacking, finding furniture, hanging up clothes, filling the cupboards and probably unbeknownst to the kids, praying, incessantly for their safety, their happiness, and their success in life. To me these are acts of blessings in a passage of life even in the ordinary act of packing and unpacking.
Blessings are easy, they can big and elaborate or they can simple and quiet but blessings are special. Whether it’s smudging the house with incense and herbs or chalking the door as we did at new year’s, or praying over a meal, a graduation, a marriage, blessings are a powerful reminder that we are loved, we are not alone, God is with us, with our families and friends cheering us onward down the path of life. Amen.