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Speaking to the Soul: Blessing

Speaking to the Soul: Blessing

by Kimberly Knowle-Zeller

 

 

Psalm 103:1-2

 

Bless the LORD, O my soul, *

and all that is within me, bless his holy Name.

Bless the LORD, O my soul, *

and forget not all his benefits.

 

 

Every night I check on my daughter after she’s fallen asleep. I quietly open her door. I slowly peek my head inside. Once I make sure she is asleep I walk towards her crib and watch her sleep. I’ll admit that I still look at her stomach first to make sure I see signs of breathing (I’m not the only parent, right?!) Then I look at her peaceful face. I smile. I silently bless her.

 

Bless the Lord, O my soul,

And all that is within me, bless his holy Name.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,

And forget not all his benefits.

 

Every night as I creep into her room and see her sleeping safely, I give thanks. I give thanks for another day to live and love and serve. I give thanks for another day to bless and be blessed.

 

As a pastor I am privileged to bless. To bless people, homes, babies, relationships, and work. And every Sunday without fail I would bless the congregation before they went back outside to their homes, families, and work. Unlike my daughter’s blessing late at night, I never crept in or whispered the blessing on Sunday mornings.

 

I proclaimed the blessing loudly and boldly, week after week.

I proclaimed the blessing for all to hear, especially myself.

 

Bless the Lord, O my soul,

And all that is within me, bless his holy Name.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,

And forget not all his benefits.

 

For in blessing we don’t say the words hoping they’ll protect us.
In blessing we don’t say the words to insulate us from harm.

 

When we bless we offer tangible words that let our neighbors know they are not alone. A blessing is one way we can let others know that God is with them through whatever life holds.

 

We bless precisely because we know the world is messy and broken and in need of hope and healing. We bless because we first were blessed by God who called us beloved children. We offer blessings so that we can be the blessings of light and hope and grace to the world.

 

I know I can’t protect my daughter from everything. I know I can’t keep violence and injustice away from the world. But I’ll keep blessing. I’ll keep proclaiming that the tomb is empty. I’ll keep proclaiming the need for voices of justice and peace. I’ll keep living boldly into the blessings of love and grace that God freely gives.

 

So this day, may you bless those you encounter and may you receive a blessing in return.

 

The LORD bless you and keep you;

the LORD make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;

the LORD lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26)

 

 

 

Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of a toddler, and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, MO. Her website is http://www.kimberlyknowlezeller.com

 
Image: By Randy OHC from West Park, New York, USA – St. Benedict detail in fresco – Ortonish version, CC BY 2.0, Link

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