Materials Needed: A blanket
Breathing Is an Act of Healing
Before anything else, let’s breathe. I’m not talking about inhaling and exhaling, but true breathing. When we inhale, we take in oxygen, which our bodies need. But when we breathe something else happens. In the Bible, we hear these words from Job –
The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. (Job 33:4)
When we breathe, each breath is a Spirit breath. It’s the breath of God almighty in our lungs. Our bodies need oxygen. And our souls need the breath of God, working to heal us from the inside out.
Let’s start by taking in a deep, slow breath through the nose.
Let the breath stay in your lungs for a couple of seconds.
Now slowly sigh the breath out through the mouth.
Let’s do that one more time.
Experiencing God’s Love in the World Is an Act of Healing
For many faith communities, the place where they worship is called the sanctuary. I love getting to be in our church’s sanctuary. Did you know that sanctuary doesn’t mean “the churchy place with the pews and the altar and where God plays the organ during the week when no one else is around”? Sanctuary actually means “safe place.”
There are lots of different kinds of sanctuaries. A bird sanctuary is a place where birds are safe from hunting or habitat destruction. An elephant sanctuary is a safe place for elephants to live and not worry about poachers.
A church sanctuary is any place where God’s people can feel and name all the feelings life brings – joy, sadness, fear, anger – knowing they are safe in God’s love and in community with one another.
One of the big challenges during this past year is that in order to live up to a sanctuary’s true definition as a safe place, many churches have made the very hard decision to postpone in-person worship.
And other churches, while still meeting in-person, have tried to keep their worship spaces as safe as possible by requiring attendees to wear masks, providing hand-sanitizer stations throughout, and making sure that seating observes safe distancing guidelines.
In either case, can you believe how much thought and work has gone into keeping God’s people as safe as possible? And in either case, it just doesn’t feel the same, does it? What we need is something to help us feel that sense of sanctuary at home.
This is my blanket. When the weather gets colder, I like to have it nearby. Sometimes when I’ve had a rough day, I wrap it around my shoulders. And other times, I just need to touch something soft and reassuring.
Let’s all wrap our blankets around our shoulders. Imagine your whole church community giving you a big hug. Imagine your friends and family giving you a big hug. Imagine God giving you a big hug. During this difficult time, we haven’t gotten to experience as much healthy touch as we need. But the love is still there.
As we keep these blankets around our shoulders, let’s say a special blanket blessing so that every time we wrap our blankets around our shoulders, we can know we are in a safe place to express our truest selves and experience the healing touch of God’s love.
Repeat after me:
Please bless these blankets,
So that whenever we wear them,
We can feel the warmth of your love,
We can feel the healing touch of your hands,
We can feel safe to be our truest selves.