Ordinary Blessings

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD’s face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD look with favor upon you and give you peace. -Numbers 6:24-26

I was recently gifted a book called Ordinary Blessings, written by ELCA pastor Meta Herrick Carlson. It is full of blessings for, well, all the ordinary moments in life. There is a blessing for grocery shopping, a blessing for paying bills, and a blessing for decluttering. There are blessings for moments less frequent but equally ordinary: for a sleepless night, for sitting near small children on an airplane, for moving, for planting a tree. There are blessings for terrible, tender moments: for divorce, infertility, overdose, trauma. There’s even a whole section of “blessings for b-list holidays.”

My current favorite blessing from the book is called “For Bare Feet.” It begins: “Let them callus in summertime, a reunion with the texture of the ground, and feel the temperature of the earth. Let them cool off in the river, the sand coating them until grains dry in the warm air and fall away…” Can you remember the last time your bare feet soaked in fresh water? Did it feel like a blessing?

I used to think that sacred and ordinary were opposites. Sacred was holy and separate, distinct from the mundane, everyday stuff of life. The more I study of the Bible and experience of life, the more I see that the two are connected. God has always cared deeply about every aspect of people’s lives. The food we eat, the relationships we make and tend and break, the work we do, the rest we take: these matter to God. Jesus blessed people wherever he met them. Nothing is too ordinary for God.

If God cares about this everyday stuff (and God does), then so should we as God’s people. We can offer bold blessings over our mundane moments, good and bad and indifferent, reminding ourselves that God’s presence and concern are with us wherever we are.

Wherever you are, whatever you do, whomever you’re with: God bless you and keep you, God smile on you with overflowing grace, God look tenderly and compassionately at you and give you peace. Amen.