Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Blessing and Cursing

It may have been my first day, I'm not 100% sure, but it was definitely early in my first year of seminary. (It's hard to remember these things when you're on the 10 year plan.) We were talking about blessing and cursing and my prof. made the comment that there is real power to our words when we bless...and when we curse.

I've always remembered that day in class, but somehow the truth of those words took some time to sink in. Over the last year or three, I've been more aware of the power of blessing.

I remember holding my new born daughter in my arms three years ago and quietly singing the benediction song I learned at CHIC '97 which used one of the familiar biblical blessings, "The Lord bless you and keep you..." I've sung that same song to my second daughter as well.

After a friend died, I gave his kids a ride to school one day a weekfor two years in order to help his widow out. Everyday when we would get to school I would bless them as follows, "The Lord bless you and keep you. Have a wonderful day at school. We love you all...good night now!" The good night part was just me being goofy, and it took them awhile to realize I said the same thing every day, but eventually they did. When they noticed, I remember telling them about the power of blessing and I'm not sure they were awake enough to catch my mini lesson, but that didn't matter to me. I know there's power there, and I used it to bless them and that's all that really mattered.

These days, my youth meetings end with a blessing. It feels good to bless my students and I'm convinced this blessing is good for them and benefits them in some way.


While I've been pondering the power of blessing these last few years, I've tended to ignore the power of cursing. (I remember my prof. saying something along the lines of, "When we curse, we align ourselves with evil." Ouch.)

I was listening to Toad the Wet Sprocket's Fear last night on my way home from hockey (which was more fun than usual.) I hadn't listend to Fear in some time. When I got to the song "Before You were Born" I remembered that this was a song I often skip. I decided to listen to it because I remember being drawn to it in an odd, visceral way. It's that third verse (chorus? I would think the chorus would begin with the title line, but the third stanza feels like a chorus.)

How can it happen that every time
You ask us this question the answer seems like a lie
You know what we're saying and you know what it means
And it's always sincere god knows
But it never gets through to where you need

Before you were born someone kicked in the door
There's no place for you here, stay back where you belong
Before you were born someone kicked in the door
You are not wanted here, stay back where you belong

God damn the people who left you in pain
God damn the father without face, without name
And God damn the lovers who never showed up
And God damn the wounds that show how deep a word can cut

Hearing the song again I remembered why I would skip it. It's not that I didn't like it, it's a powerful song. There's this sense of some righteous anger directed toward those who wronged "you," and yet that anger feels like it multiplies and begins to morph into something else... revenge, perhaps? "The father without face, without name," is not a good person, but would I really wish that God would damn this person? (If I would, I can't help but think I'm heaping coals on my own head as well.) In hearing the song, I enter in and the anger feels right and good for a moment. But soon it seems like it cuts something deep and I can't help but think my soul is hemorrhaging in some way.*

So, last night listening to Toad the Wet Sprocket, I was reminded of the power of cursing and I was reminded of an area of myself that needs purification...especially when engaged in some form of competition or home improvement projects. After all, our words have power. I was reminded of the power I have and the choice I have...bless or curse.

I skipped the rest of the track.

* This should not in any way be construed as a negative comment on Toad's song.


Blogger Rev. Johnny Agurkis said...

Godd stuff Brian...how easy it is to forget that the cursing is just as powerful as the blessing. If I could keep myself reminded of the feeling I have delievering the benediction on Sunday mornings, maybe I could gain a sense of the power behind the curse as well.

Really looking forward to hanging in Denver!

12:46 PM  

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