Serbian Home Blessings

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Still blessing homes. Winding down now, actually. It’s a very nice time of year, despite the cold and all.  I think it’s all these home visits, coupled with the feast-filled month of January – from Christmas to New Year’s to Theophany, then it’s sv. Jovan my personal Slava, then St. Sava – that makes winter go by much quicker.  It’s interesting how on the year’s coldest days the church gives us feasts which bring us the most warmth.

One thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of people like to get their homes blessed. Not sure if this applies to Greek Orthodox parishes, or if Russians or Romanians can relate, but it seems to be the case for us Serbs. At least that’s been my experience. I visit the homes of people I see every Sunday in church as well as those I never see on Sundays.  Yet, they all seem to have this one thing in common – they all want the newly blessed Theophany waters sprinkled in the rooms of their homes.

Seems natural for us to want God’s blessings in our homes.  We’re proud of them. We put a lot of our time and money in fixing and decorating and adding on to them. A man’s home is his castle. It used to be that generations would live in the same house. Times have changed and so, in most cases, our children not only move out of the house but they tend to move to different cities. Families nowadays tend to stretch from Boston to LA. But your home is your home. That’s why it’s difficult to leave a house you’ve lived in for years and years. To come back home for the holidays and sleep in the same bedroom you slept in as a kid. There’s no need for walls to talk, we hear them just fine as it is. Our homes are where we live our lives and we want God to enter into our lives and bless them.

When Christ saw Zachaeus in last Sunday’s gospel He told him to get off that sycamore tree for He needed to go to his house, “I must stay at your house,” He said.  This was no casual invitation. Then again Zacchaeus wasn’t someone who just happened to meet Jesus on the streets of Jericho, “Oh, hey how’s it goin’?” Zacchaeus had a burning desire to see Christ. He overcame his obstacles, found a sycamore tree to climb and when Christ saw him up there He knew that that was the man He needed to visit. Let’s face it, chances are Zacchaeus had a nice house with more room than the next guy. A place where there was more room for Jesus to be able to speak to a larger group of people. And it’s no secret that Zacchaeus wasn’t all that honest in his business. After all, he confesses it before Jesus and everyone when he says, “and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount…” (Luke 19:8).

That’s what this whole season of fasting we are slowly approaching is about, not only the desire to seek out God in our lives but to make a promise to change. We’re all cheaters. If we sin, we have cheated God.  It’s during this time – and not only during Lent – that we are to not only desire God to come into our homes, but for us to go to His home.  The Hebrew word barak means “to bless” but it can also mean “to kneel”.  God blesses us and we, in turn, are to go and bless,  to kneel before Him.

“Bless the Lord, o my soul, and all that is within me…” Psalm 103.

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