As we prepare for our open house and service of blessing at our new campus, we should consider what it means to bless a space or each other, and what it means to be blessed.
Rabbi Abraham Heschel wrote that "Wonder, or radical amazement, is a way of going beyond what is given in thing and thought, refusing to take anything for granted[...]. It is our honest response to the grandeur and mystery of reality our confrontation with that which transcends the given." Blessing, here, may be a response of radical amazement at the transcendence apparent in the given moment.
For feminist theologian Elizabeth Freeman, it is strong friendship that generates "creativity and hope, as experiences of trust, care, delight, forgiveness, and passion for common interests and ideas flow back and forth [...T]he love of mature friendship has the potential to press beyond its own circle to offer blessing to others." Blessings are love emitting from deep friendships and beyond those friendships toward a wide and changing community and into the whole world.
In a blessing, we witness something of immense wonder and awe, and we respond to it with words, actions, or thoughts. Whether we are humanists or classical theists, believe in a divinity that is the ground of being or a God who acts through history, we can tap into the here and now to beautify, to love, to honor, to hold, to bless.
Starhawk, the Neopagan and ecofeminist scholar, writes that "any ritual is an opportunity for transformation. To do a ritual, you must be willing to be transformed in some way. The inner willingness is what makes the ritual come alive and have power. "
On March 11, we will partake in a ritual of blessing. Will you join us in this radical act of transformation that marks United's beginnings in a new space? How might you help beautify this moment? What words are you inspired to share out of a deep well of friendships, connections and radical amazement?
We welcome you to submit words of blessings for United, for our new campus, our new neighbors and our beloved community near and far. The comments you share below will join the blessings offered during the event. May this act of blessing transform us all.