From the pulpit this summer we will trace the possibility of blessing-one-another through every kind of human transition, journey, and threshold. We will do so by drawing near to a book by John O’Donohue called To Bless The Space Between Us which feels both necessary and urgent, even 15 years after publication.
John O’Donohue says “a blessing evokes a privileged intimacy…[a blessing] touches that tender membrane where the human heart cries out to its divine ground…a blessing is not a sentiment or a question; it is a gracious invocation where the human heart pleads with the divine.” Let us seek, then, “to bless the space between us” as O’Donohue’s book title suggests. He blesses love, longing, growing up, friendship, freedom, change, pain, family, and the-self-in-relation-to-the-divine.
Why blessing? Why now? John O’Donohue says “it would be infinitely lonely to live in a world without blessing…blessing evokes a sense of warmth and protection; it suggests that no life is alone or unreachable…our times are desperate for meaning and belonging.” In terms of finding meaning and belonging, I suspect we are both closer to one another, and more divided than ever. Paradoxical, I know. We can see the-space-between-us in ways we couldn’t before, and in response we draw near to one another with empathy, longing, and full hearts. But we also notice the-space-between-us as we sense the world-divided; we detach ourselves from one another, split off, or maybe even ration our energy, imagination, creativity, and love in ways we never would have done before. We need John O’Donohue this summer because, as his brother put it in the wake of John’s sudden death in 2008, he had “the ability to still see the mountain behind the mist.” His clarity and insight opens us up to a still better way.
For such a time as this, let us seek to bless one another.