Written by Elivette Mendez Angulo
Genesis 1: 6-10 (NRSV) And God said, "Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters." So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. And God said, "Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear." And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
Psalm 8: 3-4 (NRSV) When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?
Matthew 28:16-20 (NRSV) Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
Imagine a cup filled with water sitting beside an empty bowl. A leaf off a tree sits beside the cup. Imagine that I take the cup place the bowl over it and slowly flip the bowl so that the water is as contained as I can keep it inside the cup as it flows into the bowl…
That is the extent of the true control that I possess over the waters, so not much! Short of that, I am able to control the waters by turning knob on my faucets. That is about the amount of control we have over blessings. Not much.
If you have ever been around “typical” Puerto Rican families you have heard children (even the adult ones) enter a space filled by their elders and loudly proclaim, “¡Bendicion!” And without fail, the response is some variation of, “¡Que Dios te bendiga!” Even when they are upset with you. Even when you have disappointed them (or they have disappointed you), the only response to a request for a blessing is “Let God bless you.” Over and over as Latinx Caribeaners (because I can only speak of my knowledge of Puerto Ricans, Cubans, and Dominicans) we have asked for our blessings, requested our blessings, begged for our blessings and been reminded over and over again that our blessings come from God.
Our blessings, shared by others, are gifts that come from God. Our gifts don’t come from other humans. Can you imagine?
This week as we pray for each of the 49 individuals who died at Pulse Night Club, let us remember that no matter who they were, who they loved, who pleased them, or who they pleased, they were blessed by God and just like we their community have limited control of the waters, we have even less control of God’s blessings for all God’s creation.
We remember them: Stanley Almodovar III, Amanda Alvear, Oscar A Aracena-Montero, Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, Antonio Davon Brown, Darryl Roman Burt II, Angel L. Candelario-Padro,Juan Chevez-Martinez, Luis Daniel Conde, Cory James Connell, Tevin Eugene Crosby, Deonka Deidra Drayton, Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, Leroy Valentin Fernandez, Mercedez Marisol Flores, Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, Juan Ramon Guerrero, Paul Terrell Henry, Frank Hernandez, Miguel Angel Honorato, Javier Jorge-Reyes, Jason Benjamin Josaphat, Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, Christopher Andrew Leinonen, Alejandro Barrios Martinez, Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, Kimberly Morris, Akyra Monet Murray,Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, Joel Rayon Paniagua, Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, Enrique L. Rios, Jr., Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, Edward Sotomayor Jr., Shane Evan Tomlinson, Martin Benitez Torres, Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, Luis S. Vielma, Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, Jerald Arthur Wright.
Prayer: Creator, thank you. You created us, each of us and called us, “good!” Thank you for the blessing of your love and mercy and grace. Thank you for the awesome gifts that come from you and can’t be taken back by anyone! Bless me, bless us, and bless them too. Amen.