I recently found a blessing I had saved long ago in an email folder. I had sent it to myself, with no indication of who wrote it or where I got it. So I did a little googling this morning, and found that the blessing below was written by Brian Baker, an Episcopal priest and former cathedral dean in Sacramento.
It turned out that he wrote the blessing for use at an unlikely place: the annual Burning Man festival. As an event that emphasizes radical self-expression, among other principles, Burning Man doesn’t immediately seem to be a place that is overrun with church-y types! But Dean Baker, who has attended regularly since 2015, found that there were indeed people hungry for blessing at the festival — and so he created this prayer for them.
The world now
is too dangerous
and too beautiful
for anything but love.
I bless your eyes so you see God in everyone.
I bless your ears so you hear the cry of the poor.
I bless your lips so you speak nothing but the truth with love.
I bless your hands so that everything you give
and everything you receive,
is a sacrament,
I bless your feet so you run to those who need you.
And may your heart be so opened,
so set on fire
that your love,
changes . . .
Dean Baker simply walks up to a stranger, asks if they would like a blessing, and if it is okay to touch them. If they say yes, he begins. In a blog post, he writes:
“I would put my hands on their shoulders, look in their eyes, take a breath and say, ‘The world now . . .’ After the opening line, their countenance would change. They would prepare themselves to receive something important. I would touch next to their eyes, ears, lips, and hands, then stoop down and kiss their feet. For the last line I would put my thumb on their sternum and press hard. It was always a moving exchange.” (https://www.deanbaker.org/2019/11/my-burning-man-blessing.html)
I wonder if you feel in need of a blessing today? You may not have Dean Baker standing in front of you, but you can still offer this blessing to yourself, and as you pray even touch your own shoulders, your eyes, ears, lips, hands, and feet, ending with your thumb pressing hard on your sternum.
And as you do, may your heart be so opened, so set on fire, that your love, YOUR LOVE, changes everything!