The Gauntlet of Blessings

The new year is in full swing, which means all those things that have been holding off until “after the holidays” are also beginning to gain momentum.  January is an especially full time in the life of our congregation, and if you are here for the next few Sundays, you will notice that quite a gauntlet has emerged in the church lobby.  As of this afternoon, there are four large easels with various sign-ups looming down the corridor between the front door and the entrance to the sanctuary. 

I looked up that word to make sure I was using it correctly, and, indeed, here is one pertinent definition of “gauntlet”: (noun) go through an intimidating or dangerous crowd, place, or experience in order to reach a goal.

While that is the definition I was thinking of, I hope it is clear that I’m using that word cheekily.  I hope that when we walk through this area for the next few weeks (or however long these sign-ups remain) we can see it not as an “intimidating or dangerous” experience.  I hope, instead, that we can see these things as opportunities and invitations into the vibrant and diverse life of a congregation. 

Here is a list of those opportunities and invitations:

  • Winter Seminar
  • Dinner Groups
  • Membership Statement Focus Groups
  • CRC Breakfast

I hope that when you make your way through this gauntlet of sign-ups that you can take time at each one to breathe deeply and consider how they might be opportunities to be blessed and to be a blessing to one another and our wider community.  

And while we’re on the topic of blessings, I am going to add one more opportunity to the mix.  Our annual Coming of Age Service is coming up on February 3rd.  This is a chance for us to be blessed by our current sixth grade students who will lead the morning worship service as well as an opportunity for us to bless them with a notebook full of notes of blessing.  All people, regardless of how well you know the youth, are invited to write notes.  These can be words of encouragement, scripture verses you find meaningful, a recognition of the specific gifts each youth has, or any other wisdom you want to pass along. 

I will be placing blank notecards in everyone’s mailbox, and more information (including the names of the 5 youth we will be blessing) will be attached to them.  If you do not have a mailbox but wish to participate, extra blank notes will be available in the lobby as well.  Please return notes to me by January 27. 

And for those of you out there who cannot even imagine signing up for even one more thing, I offer you this blessing by John O’Donohue: “For One Who is Exhausted, a Blessing.”