Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Red Plate Blessing

Someday, when my brain is working again, and I can write again, I'd like to write about how Generations X and Y are embracing ritual and tradition as they raise their families. I have a long list of ideas I hope to incorporate with my own family.

In a few short weeks--after I return from China--I will be moving in with an amazing family in Ohio. It'll be an adjustment going from a nice-sized home of my own to a room in the home of a family of five. I've been blessed to spend several weeks with this family over the past few months, and though I'm sure there will be adjustments for all of us, I am really looking forward to living with a family, with all the joy and chaos that comes with it.

This family is part of the community to which God has led me in Canton, Ohio. One of the things I most appreciate about this group is their own sense of ritual and tradition. Today, this community is having a blessing ceremony for my host family's oldest child. It's a time of affirming celebrating the person being blessed. This is my blessing for T.

The Red Plate Blessing
for T., on the occasion of his tenth birthday

For most of my adult life, I’ve observed the character and traditions of those I admired and looked to as models. Older women to demonstrate the woman I want to be, couples whose marriages grow stronger even through the seasons of struggle, families who create rituals and traditions to commemorate a collective history of celebrating everyday life.

A few years ago, I heard of the Red Plate tradition. Typically, it’s a red plate with the white words, “You are special today.” The plate is used to celebrate birthdays, awards, good grades, championships, acts of kindness, accomplishments and any event worth noting. At the end of the meal, the act is written on the back of the plate as a way of memorializing it. Other Red Plate rituals include the recipient choosing the evening meal and leading the family prayer.

T., because we are brother and sister in the family of God, I wanted to do something unique to celebrate our Father in this tradition, so I used the words, “You are blessed today.”

And T., as you turn ten years old, you are blessed, and very much loved. I am thrilled to come to live with you and your family. I’m looking forward to watching you grow into a godly young man. I can already see how you are choosing to live your life in a way that makes God smile. When I wasn’t feeling well after the car accident, you volunteered to help me by getting my things from downstairs, bringing me water, taking my plates after meals, and asking me what else you could do to help me or make me more comfortable. I saw Jesus in you. And I know He was smiling.

My blessing for you as you turn ten is to give you a Red Plate and commission you to start this tradition with your family, with your friends, and with us, your church community. Actively look for reasons to celebrate the good around you. As a big brother, recognize when A. or K. are good or helpful. As a son, be kind to your parents, and let them know what you appreciate and love about them. With your friends, be the first to cheer, first to apologize, and first to love. With your church family, help us discover the things we have in common, seek to learn what you can learn from us, and show us what we can learn from you. You are loved. You are special. You are blessed.

Much love,

I'd love to hear from others what traditions and rituals you've incorporated to celebrate life.


Anonymous said...

Very creative analogy and very true. We're all praying the matchmaker will make it happen... ;-)

Anonymous said...

whoops... wrong post ;-)