Sunday, January 7, 2018

Our Blessed Home

Yesterday we hosted children's vespers at our home, and because it was also Genna (Ethiopian Christmas), and because we are in a new home that hasn't been blessed yet, we decided to combine everything. We sang the Nativity troparion for vespers, and then our priest said the words of blessing over our home and blessed each room with holy water. This is the first time we have had a group of substantial size with us for our house blessing, and it was really beautiful, everyone following the priest around our house and singing the Theophany troparion. This house already felt like home, but somehow the house blessing made it feel fuller, more so.

I had no idea when we became part of the Orthodox Church that these traditions would mean so much to me. I arrived at the decision to learn more about a church that was different than what I'd been raised in because I had questions that weren't being answered in a way that satisfied my heartfelt desire to understand who God is within the context of a world where suffering is more common than ease. I felt like there was something deeper missing, that the answers I was given were too easy when things were unspeakably hard. I felt this complication within my life of faith, that things were glossed over instead of wrestled with. "God is good! All the time! He must have a reason! Trust the Lord!" These were things that didn't answer what I saw in the world, in my own life but also in the lives of those who were facing true brutality, need, and desperation. I had questions about hell, about war, about the death of children and the suffering of all innocents. I haven't found all the answers, but I've found what is, to me, a way to wrestle with these things in the presence of God.

These traditions such as house blessing, then, are sort of a bonus. And yet they are also an integral part of our spiritual life as a family. I had no idea just what I was missing, but I was missing something sweet and good. I'm sure I'm missing other things that I've yet to learn about and understand. For now, I recognize this particular tradition as the gift that it is. Our house is blessed. It is safe and warm, and by all these people who came to celebrate the holiday with us and be part of the house blessing, I know that we four who live in this house are loved. And thus not only is our house blessed - so are we.

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