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Blessing the building

by on October 22, 2012


Was asked on the weekend would I come and bless a new shop some neighbours are about to open up nearby.

I don’t have much experience blessing buildings! Searched around on the web for any ‘blessing’ resources from the Anglican tradition. Didn’t find anything much. Prayer books don’t seem to be into this stuff. Maybe I missed something.

Don’t we do blessings?

If not – pity!
I mean… we are priests, right?

Quick look in the New Testament: Jesus pronounces 15 blessings in Matthew’s Gospel alone. He instructs us to pronounce blessings – on our enemies. I’m guessing we’re also sposed to speak blessings on our friends!

I’d like to look further into this whole blessing thing. Perhaps it’s a bit of a blindspot in our tradition?

From → General

  1. Keith permalink

    In the reformed tradition services often end with a benediction from 2 Cor 13:14. I once got taken to task for calling it a prayer. 2 Chronicles 30:27 seems to imply that a blessing is a form of prayer – spoken to people but also in God’s presence to be heard and granted by him. So yeah, I reckon we should be able to do that with anyone.

    Is it biblical to bless buildings though? Not sure about that. I’d have no problem however praying for blessing, protection etc on their shop as part of a blessing upon them.

    • Yes I tend to see it as a form of prayer.

      Can we pray for buildings? Jury’s out on that one. I guess you’re right, the blessing is really on the people who use the building.

      I’d like to know why we limit these blessings to the end of the church service, and to the minister. Instead of busting them out into the lives of ordinary Christians.

      Nice to hear from you Keith!

  2. Keith permalink

    Thanks Jonathan, yes I agree, it would be good to make blessing more a part of our daily lives beyond ministers and liturgies. God bless you brother 🙂

  3. Nuria permalink

    Hi Jonathan. Interesting post. Thank-you!

    Ever since I worked in the Muslim world I’ve had in the back of my mind that it would be really helpful to do some study on the biblical theology of blessing, though to my shame I’ve not actually put in the work to do that as yet.

    When my Muslim friends prayed extemporaneously (ie. not as part of the mandated 5 times a day prayers, which have a set form of words) their prayers usually took the form of blessings and as such were expressed in the third person. These friends often commented that they were really moved when we (ie. followers of Jesus) prayed for and with them. I sense this was partly because we tended to address God directly, and that said something about the confidence and intimacy with which we could approach the God as a result of having been cleansed by Jesus’ blood (eg. Heb 10). So there was something helpful simply in modelling a different kind of prayer from what they were used to.

    Having said that, I found it very moving on several occasions to witness elderly family members in the Muslim world blessing their children and grandchildren, particularly at significant life-events (as the bride left home after her wedding, at the birth of a child etc). It seemed quite reminiscent of the Patriarch’s in the Old Testament, though as you say there is lots about blessing in the NT too.

    Over time these experiences got me thinking that I didn’t have a good theological framework to understand blessing in general, and prayers of blessing in particular.

    So yes, I do think we have a blindspot in our tradition in this area. Perhaps it is partly because we’re so focused on Jesus as the ultimate priest that we don’t have our heads firmly enough around how Jesus’ people are to be a kingdom of priests. Also, I suspect, partly because praying for blessing can sound a bit too much like prosperity theology.

    Anyway, I’d love to hear further thoughts on this, especially if anyone ends up doing some work on how the concept of blessing works out through biblical theology, or can point me towards the work of someone who has. Save me some time you will :-).

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