One of the most precious moments of my week is shared at the end of each week’s Sunday School. After we play together, study together, respond together, laugh together, and pray together, we gather up to 1) get a fruit snack, 2) receive bible bucks, and 3) get a hand blessing.
My friend Lauren Miller, a United Methodist Deacon, shared the idea of hand blessing with me a few years ago and I knew it’d be the perfect way to offer personal and individual blessings to my students. It would involve four of the five senses (smell, touch, hearing, sight), give me time to look into each one’s eyes, and take only a few seconds to speak truth and life over each child. Every. Single. Week. It’s one thing to touch, see, and hear church, but how often do I get to impart the ‘smell’ of church?
Lauren introduced the hand blessing to me using a scented chap stick with the wrapping removed. With the essential oil craze, finding ‘anointing oils’ is super easy. I came across a package of oil roll-ons at the Thistle Stop Cafe’ in Nashville at last year’s CEF (Christian Educator’s Fellowship) 2014 Conference. I typically invite the oldest student in the room to choose the roll-on oil for each particular Sunday.
Taking a child’s hand in mine, I draw the shape of a cross with the roll-on oil on the back of the student’s hand as I look into each one’s eyes and say a blessing: “Anna, may the Lord bless you and keep you and make His face shine upon you and give you peace,” “Griffin, trust in the Lord always and He will direct your paths,” “Isabella, Jesus loves you this I know for the Bible tells us so,” etc. Something relative to the lesson, a hymn, or a scripture. It’s makes me smile to see them smell the back of their hands during the following worship service.
“May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.” Psalm 141:2