If you’re a kid moseying around any of three city playgrounds in Greenville, South Carolina, be on the lookout for a neon plastic dinosaur treasure meant just for you!
Yesterday was our Vacation Bible School Blast when we spent a full day and a sleepover learning all about the fruits of the spirit. (Enjoy the earworm! We did!) One of the fruits is goodness, (also translated generosity) so part of our day including tagging dinosaurs to leave as surprises at area parks for little people, and making blessing bags for bigger folks who might be homeless or in need.
Both projects were super fun, even if one of our parks were closed. It was exciting to sneak out in the dark and leave a surprise gift, a blessing of the plastic dinosaur kind, for someone we don’t even know!
People use the word blessing so much lately that sometimes I wince at it, honestly. When a cashier tells me to have a blessed day (sometimes after being rude to the person in front of me) I want to ask them just what do they mean by that.
Barbara Brown Taylor, one of my she-roes, writes in An Altar in the World, that the key to blessing things and people is “knowing that they beat you to it”- to recognize that because “God made these beings, they share in God’s own holiness, whether or not they meet your minimum requirements for a blessing.”
So we give out dinosaurs to kids we don’t know because they are a blessing to this world, just by being themselves, children of God. And we give blessing bags to homeless folks because of course they share in God’s own holiness too.
I was reading up on blessing things a few weeks ago.
It’s because of these dear two people, Susie and her daughter Juliana. They look a little different now, (but just as beautiful!) as that photo was taken back on Christmas Eve, 1999. Juliana no longer wears clothes out of my dress up box. But she did wear a gown a few weeks ago- a bridal gown! Juliana and my sister-in-heart Susie honored me by asking me to help lead the blessing of the rings during the service as Juliana married her love, Robbie. I was delighted to be a part of such a holy moment in their lives. It was a blessing to me too!
As we passed the rings through the rows of friends and family, each person had a chance to hold them in their hands and pray and wish and shower their love upon Juliana and Robbie, blessing the new family created before our eyes.
It was a sacred thing.
Blessings are like that, whether they come with rings or dinosaurs or ziplock bags of toothpaste and deodorant.
As Barbara writes, “God has no hands but ours, no bread but the bread we bake, no prayers but the ones we make, whether we know what we are doing or not…The most ordinary things are drenched in divine possibility. Pronouncing blessings upon them is the least we can do.”
Blessings to you, friends!