Orthopraxy – Blessings

From the weekly bulletin of St. Andrew Orthodox Church

 

  It’s said that the Orthodox will bless anything!  Houses, icons, horses, cars, soldiers, guns, and of course, people!  The blessings are usually accompanied with formal prayers and the sprinkling of Holy Water that was, itself, blessed on the Feast of Theophany.  And of course, it is customary to ask blessings from priests and bishops when you greet them, as opposed to shaking hands.
Why do we look for the opportunity to bless things so often?  The word Holy has two meanings in the ancient church.  The word means “not earthly” but it also means “set aside for a special purpose.”  When Orthodox Christians bless material things, we are asking God to use those material things for a special purpose. Water is blessed and used because, as the single most important physical requirement for life, blessing water means blessing life itself.  God is not distant from our material world.  Through the incarnation, Christ became matter and sanctifies all matter.  As we are set aside for Christ, and made Holy in baptism, so too do we ask that material things of importance to us be sanctified and set aside for the glory of God!  May we all be blessed!
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