Thursday, July 18, 2013

Blessing the House, Blessing the World

On Sunday, we were talking with our pastor about our move to the new house. He asked if we wanted a house blessing. The idea immediately appealed to me.

A Lutheran house blessing is different than what you'd find in other cultures. Lutherans don't expel demons or other evil spirits, although my pastor says that he sometimes gets phone calls from people who want that kind of service.

Part of the reason for that request is the popular culture that surrounds all of us; we approach the 30th anniversary of The Exorcist, and it's not like that was the first or the last of the possessed-by-a-demon narratives. But part of it is the island culture that's part of the larger culture in South Florida.

I don't believe in evil spirits, although I have lived in houses that seemed determined to drive me away. But my rational brain was firm in its insistence that shoddy upkeep of past owners led to the repair disasters, not evil spirits.

I walked into the house that we've just bought and immediately felt at home. That doesn't always happen. It was a welcoming vibe, but that's more about my mindset than it is about good spirits that inhabit the house.


In the summer of 2003, we had work done on the kitchen of our old house, which meant we had a variety of workers coming through. A Jamaican carpenter said, "You live in a house of love and joy. I can feel it when I come through the door."

At the time, I took it as a compliment. I still do, although I realize he may have been thinking of literal spirits, not just the spirits of me and my spouse.

I hope our new house will have that vibe. And that's what Lutheran house blessing will do. It will ask God to bless the residents and visitors and to protect us all. I'm looking forward to it.

Maybe my pastor could bless my office too while we're blessing the structures that we inhabit.

Here's where I admire the tradition of our Jewish brothers and sisters who have blessings for all sorts of situations as they move through the day.  I wonder what a Lutheran book of blessings would look like.

I've really liked writing prayers.  I wonder if I would like writing blessings.  I'm fairly sure that I would, and the practice would help me with the spirit of gratitude that I want to encourage in my brain.

It's an interesting spiritual practice, the practice of saying blessings through the day, the practice of blessing everyone and everything that crosses our path through the day.  Some days, I ask God's blessing on all the students, faculty, and staff that I see as I walk through the hallways.  But I only remember to do that for a brief time.  Could I move to the point where I'm doing it more frequently?

And if I wrote the blessings down, would I be similarly enriched?

Most of my blessings seem simple, not worth writing down.  Maybe I'm really thinking about 2 practices here.

In any event, I'd like to do more blessing.  A house blessing will be a good place to start.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

At the risk of sounding 'unenlightened' or stuck in the Dark Ages, I'm going to say that yes, I do believe there are evil spirits. We acknowledge there is a Holy Spirit (and holy angels to help and protect us.) Why, then, is it so hard to accept the existence of evil spirits? Also,Jesus,Himself,spoke directly about such beings - what stronger proof is needed than that? Perhaps, I am one of the 'poor, simple folk' for holding such beliefs, but that's how this Lutheran sees it.