Some recent posts on blessings produced a thoughtful dialogue on who is best qualified to give a blessing. Here is what happened at our Easter Sunday mass.
We had just finished celebrating the baptism of two children. One was a beautiful wee babe. Her parents followed the Filipino tradition of surrounding their child with the support of many God-parents. A joyous crowd of parents and seven God-parents gathered around the font.
The other child was a girl, around six years old, the grand-daughter of a long-time friend. She stood at the front with a shy smile and excitement in her eyes. Her 23 year old uncle, my friend’s son, died suddenly last year. The mass was dedicated to his memory. My eyes welled as I looked at them, thinking of the gaping loss felt when family gathers for celebrations with grief still fresh.
After the baptisms it was time for the sprinkling rite. A previous pastor used to make a grand procession around the church, blessing all those in the pews with holy water. All eyes were on him, hoping that a drop or two might come their way.
Our current pastor placed two large glass bowls of Easter water in front of the altar. He warmly invited us to come up by twos or threes and bless each other generously with the water.
Of course, the introvert in me hoped that hubby would be my partner. But, as I watched the line move forward, whether it was a family member or the stranger who happened to be behind them, the blessings were given freely and joyfully. There was no awkwardness or shyness. Easter waters flowed with the smiles and warm words of blessing.
Though the community sat as the line moved forward, our pastor stood at his chair. It was a powerful gesture of respect for the Easter blessings unfolding before him; God’s people blessing each other with all their joys and sorrows.