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The lesson of Russell Brand's “proper blessing”

Author: Jenny Baker

Photo: Jessie Essex

The lesson of Russell Brand's “proper blessing”

Russell Brand, a controversial and outspoken character who, like marmite, you either love or hate, gave a great plug for receiving a blessing.

He was appearing on an American radio show and just before going live he bumped into a Catholic priest and a nun in the corridor and as he put it “got a proper blessing”.

He went on to say: “You must never miss an opportunity for a blessing from someone who has dedicated their life to the Lord.”

From his gesticulation he showed that they had laid hands on him and prayed for him and he expressed that “it felt like something”, going on to describe it as “God-is-great energy”.

Of course it is always tricky with him to separate tongue in cheek from an authentic remark, but I did feel he was certainly giving a thumbs up to getting blessed.

Having watched this clip on youtube I thought what an opportunity we Christians have in this day and age where there is an openness to things of the Spirit, even if people aren’t really aware of who God is, and of course, blessing someone could be the beginning of a new understanding.

Perhaps if we are brave enough we may be very surprised as to who is willing to receive prayer. I am not sure if I bumped into a celebrity in the street whether the first thing I would say would be ‘let me pray for you’ but who knows what could happen if I gave it a go.

And as for the ‘ordinary’ person in the street they could be just as up for a blessing as Russell Brand if I took my courage in my hands and asked them. 

The Church says in the Catechism thatevery baptised person is called to be a ‘blessing’ and to bless” (CCC 1669). 

This is an age-old way of opening a door for God to step in and it is made clear that it is not only for clergy and religious to pray for others.

When we lay a hand on someone’s shoulder and ask God to bless them we understand that we are asking God to pour out his grace and favour on that person, so that they may have a share in his vitality and purpose – pretty good stuff!

So perhaps Russell is being prophetic and God is telling us through him, be brave, take the risk and offer to bless everyone who is open to receive – after all we believe that God can speak in all sorts of ways, and if he can speak through Balaam’s donkey (Numbers 22:21) why not Mr Brand!

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