Notes from Jan

Blessed Beyond Belief

September 8, 2016

Maggie and Kate scooted into church, armed and ready for one of their favorite Sundays: The Blessing of the Backpacks.  It happens yearly, when school starts.

A couple of weeks beforehand,  Patrick Gray, our Rector, reminds: “Students, bring your backpacks. Everyone else, bring your briefcase, computer, hammer, diaper bag, some symbol of your work.”

Since retiring,  I’m never sure where I fit.   Can’t bring all the Grands, my primary calling, now.  So lugged my laptop.  “Lord, please bless the writing, communicating.”

When Patrick called up the backpackers, students swarmed to the front, eager for blessings,  hopes high for the coming school year.

Blessed and beaming, Maggie and Kate scooted back to our pew. Meanwhile, I wondered when or if I should go forward.

While I pondered, Kate and Maggie heard, then yelled,  “Go, Momo!  He’s calling for  Gordon College people.”


Do I still fit?


Maggie and Kate barked, “Momo, it’s Gordon.  That’s you!  Go!”

So I went,

Laptop and I,


Not as much by sprinkled holy water, since I felt not a drop, but by the diverse men and women around me, faculty and staff from Gordon College, Gordon-Conwell and other places.   Their tools? Hearts, minds and serving hands. Fellow strugglers, truth seekers and tellers.

Jud and I, so blessed to have spent the better part of our working years, fulfilling a mission we believed in, with people we grew to love.

Still do.

Including many no longer at Gordon.

When Patrick made his final call, down the aisle came a solitary figure. All eyes turned as a professional hockey player, gear slung over her shoulder, strode to the front for a blessing.

Patrick sprinkled player and pads, prayed, then shouted, “Goal!”

A winning Sunday in September.

Blessed beyond belief.




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  • Reply Jim Trent September 8, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    God bless your computer, and God bless you for always being a part of Gordon College. Indeed, your part in the college community may be more important than ever.

  • Reply Suzy Young September 8, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    You’d better always walk to the front for a blessing when the call is for Gordon — you are Gordon !

    Love to you, David and Suzy

  • Reply Jeri September 9, 2016 at 1:19 am

    This is great Jan! Love this ritual your church does! And yes, you ARE Gordon!

  • Reply susan September 9, 2016 at 2:28 am

    Cool! We had backpack blessings too, but next year I will suggest other work tools. Thanks and please keep writing. xxoo

  • Reply Dale Lefever September 9, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    I don’t know how often Gordon has chapel services, but I hope you will be able to speak at one or more so they understand the depth of the Gordon community and the legacy people like you and Jud have given them.

    Blessings, Dale

  • Reply wendy lane September 10, 2016 at 1:08 am

    Of course you are Gordon! Silly!
    This is such a neat tradition your church does – more than neat… powerful and precious.

  • Reply Liz Freemantle September 23, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    Dear Jan I just saw this new site on the old Caringbridge (visiting another friend’s CB page). It’s early Friday morning and I’m trying to gear up for work. Well I have been reading some of your beautiful posts and feel inspired and touched, so thank you! I especially like this story about the blessing service. Looking forward to reading more later! Love, Liz

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