The Power of a Blessing
By Nancy Kauffmann, Interim Executive Director
Four-, five-, and six-year-olds gathered for Sunday school to play, sing, hear a Bible story, and eat a snack. They learned to share things that were on their minds using either a paper with a smiley face or a sad face. Then their teacher, Rose, ended the class with speaking a special blessing to each child. The blessing would have a connection to what they had heard earlier in the Bible story. For example, if the lesson was on Jesus is a friend, then the blessing would incorporate that point: “Briggs, remember Jesus is your friend and promises to be with you always.”
Some might wonder what a child would get out of a blessing, but I saw the power of a blessing on those children. When the teacher called out their names, I witnessed even the wiggliest children straighten their backs and look into the teacher’s eyes as she gave them a blessing. Rose had one story of a boy who left Sunday school before the blessing time. The parent shared with Rose that later that day the boy realized he had not received his blessing. He begged his parents to take him back to the church to find the teacher and get his blessing. He was upset when he was told that she would no longer be at the church. From then on, he would not leave the class until after the blessing time.
The power of the blessing played out for this age group even during the pandemic when the congregation was not meeting in the building. Rose decided to attempt a forty-minute Zoom time once a month with these four-, five-, and six-year-olds. She made packets with the Bible story, an art activity, and a snack pack, which she and her assistants would drop off at the children’s homes one week before each Zoom class. On the day of class, the parents would set the children up on Zoom for “their Sunday school time.” I was amazed with how the children, even the youngest, engaged in the Zoom class. They eagerly shared the art they made, listened to the story while they ate their snack together, and then ended in blessing time. I was so moved when Rose called each child’s name and gave them their blessing. Their faces would always light up. One time one of the children suggested that each teacher should be given a blessing too!
Rose says giving each child a blessing is one way to help them feel connected to God and lets them know that God knows them individually. It also tells the child that their church cares about them too.
With all the chaos that COVID has created in our personal lives, families, schools, work, and churches, we would all benefit from giving and receiving blessings. At any age, a blessing given to us can have power in our lives.
So I leave a blessing based on Isaiah 43:1–3 to all you who are reading this newsletter. These words are for you: “The Lord who created you, the Lord who formed you, now says to you, ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you. When you walk through fire, you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One, your Savior. You are precious to me!”