Wednesday, September 5, 2012
As I drove past a Lutheran church in my neighborhood, I saw a banner reading “Blessing of the Backpacks”. It’s still unclear to me whether one’s backpack will be blessed against bad things, or so good things will happen to its contents. I’m considering showing up at the backpack blessing ceremony with my wallet (my debit card needs all the help it can get). It’s worth a shot, however I don’t know if you need to be a Lutheran for it to work. As a recovering Catholic, I’d have to lie, which probably wouldn’t be a good thing to do inside a church. I am intrigued by all these blessing ceremonies and am anxious to see what’s on the next banner. My childhood was chock full of Catholic rituals. Mass every Sunday and on Holy Days, Confession on Fridays, and various ceremonies throughout the year took up a major chunk of my life. “High” Mass included incense, which always made my first grade friend Allison faint. Thunk... It added a little mystery and suspense to the whole thing. During a really special Mass, the bishop would walk down the center aisle and fling holy water from a little bucket. Sometimes, we tried to get hit and other times we ducked. It was like an encounter with a Holy super-soaker. After a while, the bishop’s tall pointy hat and ornate vestments seemed ordinary. Dude in a dress... so what? Sometime in February came the feast of St. Blaise. On that day, you could get your throat blessed. The priest would put crossed candles against your throat while chanting a blessing. Perhaps this ritual was bogus, or maybe Someone Important knew I was skeptical. Needless to say, I had many a sore throat for much of my childhood. Nowadays I could really get into a a ritual to stave off obesity and arthritis. If that would mean attending church again, though, I may have to just limp off into the sunset.