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Family Blessings

Family Blessings

“Help me, Mama.”


My daughter’s hands are close to my forehead, she has her index finger ready. I take her finger and make a straight line on my forehead and then another across.


Together we’re making the sign of the cross.


She can do it on her own with some quick movements and swipes of her fingers. But recently she’s been asking for help. She goes around to everyone in the room and says, “Help me.” Her father will help her make the sign of the cross on his head and one of us helps her mark the sign of the cross on her brother.


It’s our evening bedtime routine. After the rush of dinner, playtime, baths, teeth brushing, pajamas, stories, and prayers, it’s time to bless one another.


From the beginning we took the time to mark the sign of the cross on our children. To remind them that they are loved and God has called and claimed them as God’s own.


Now our daughter can take part in making that same cross for us. I love watching her excitement when she makes the cross. Her joy brings a smile to my face. Her fervor for making sure everyone is marked with the cross makes us laugh. Even the dog has received the marking of the cross from her.


We bless her so that she in turn knows the power of blessing and can give it away freely to others, too. I love that she asks for help because it means that we are a part of the process in blessing. When we bless others we enter into a relationship with them. We are changed by one another.


I hope that my daughter continues to offer blessings. To give them away freely. To find such joy in marking others with God’s love. To relish the chance for sharing hope and healing with others.   


This is our calling after all. Marked with the cross of Christ sent into the world to bless.

Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two, and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, MO. You can read more at her website: or follow her work on Facebook:


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Michael Merriman

Yes. but why illustrate this with a photo of a clergy person blessing some who who is not ordained. The whole point, I should think, is that the non-ordained have a ministry of blessing as well. Certainly that is so in families and our households that do not have a ordained family member.

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