I Blessed a Boat and I Liked It

The coffee shop is usually pretty quiet on Sunday mornings when I stop in about 6:30 am, en route to a final few hours of preparation before morning worship.  There are a couple of regulars huddled behind their laptops, but it’s sparse.  Not being a morning person I’m not terribly engaging, but that’s OK as the employees know me and don’t require a lot of interaction.

This morning when I asked the girl ringing me up how she was doing, she smiled as a new song came on.  She then went on to do something that I thought was very kind.  I don’t know if you’re into Beyonce or not, but this is her new album.  It’s very unlike any of her other stuff and, well, it’s epic.  I appreciated that she took the time to give me a little information about the song rather than a generic I like this song.  It probably doesn’t require rocket science to look at me and determine that I might not be a Beyonce fan, but she shared a bit about herself as well as the music, and I appreciated that.

I headed out to my car with my tea and bagel.  As I climbed up and in, I saw framed in the open space wedge between my car door and the frame of my car the face of a man coming out and looking directly at me.  My hearing isn’t what it used to be, so I presume he had tried to get my attention and failed.  As I started to get out, he apologized and asked with a sheepish smile if I would bless his boat, pointing to his beater car with a large outrigger canoe mounted to the top.

Tom proceeded to tell me he grew up Catholic back East, was now currently the caretaker of a well-known local ruined castle (literally), and restored wooden boats for fun.  He was going out in this newly finished boat, along with his two dogs.  I asked him how far out he could go in it, and he said if it was properly equipped, he could sail to the islands 20 miles off our coast.  But he prefers to stay within 100 yards of shore because he’s come close to death on the ocean several times in his life.  He was interested in a blessing – if it wasn’t offensive – as he has a healthy respect of God’s waters and the creatures of the deep.

Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters;

They saw the the deeds of the Lord, and his wondrous works in the deep.

(Psalm 107:23)

I’ve never served a rural congregation, where the blessing of fields and animals and other accoutrements of life off the land is de rigeur.  Barring a (mostly) humorous suggestion that I bless our team’s pool cues years ago, I’m not asked to bless things very often.  I explained that I am Lutheran, not Catholic, but that I’d be happy to say a prayer for him and his boat.  And I did.  And it was nice.  I should have given him my card, but at least he is reminded of who it is that goes with him as he pushes out through the waves.

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