On Sunday, The Record ran a sidebar article from the Associated Press entitled Special boxer shorts get church blessing. It was one of those headlines that grab my attention and thoughts began whizzing through my brain as I wondered what kind of underwear a church would bless. Had the editor made a mistake in writing the headline for an article that was really about holey underwear? If not, was this going to be an article about the Mormons and their temple garments? Was there some move afoot in the Roman Catholic church to allow the use of tight boxer shorts as a form of contraception?
As it turned out, the news was from a United Church of Christ congregation, St. James UCC in Casco Township, Michigan, where church members had replaced the side seams of 150 boxer shorts with velcro. These modified boxers were being sent to Sew Much Comfort, an organization that provides adaptive clothing for wounded veterans. These particular underwear are designed for those whose prostheses or braces made it impossible for them to put on regular underwear and I'm certain that they'll make life much easier for the women and men who will wear them.
I applaud the members of St. James UCC for supporting our troops with actions rather than just slogans. While I'm sure that their congregation has a diversity of opinion about America's involvement in Iraq, they have demonstrated that we can still work together, despite our politics, to care for those who serve our nation honorably.
So, is there a proper blessing for boxer shorts? There isn't one in the Book of Worship, but I suspect that, if we were to add one, it would go something like this: Bless, O God, these boxer shorts and those who are about to receive them. May your spirit rest upon the men and women wounded in service to our nation, granting them healing of their bodies, their minds and their spirits. We ask your blessing, as well, for the families and friends of these wounded warriors as they offer themselves as caregivers. Strengthen them for the loving tasks that will face them over the months and years to come. Finally, we ask your blessing for us, as individuals and as a nation. May the tragedy of war teach us to become peacemakers, working to build wholeness among people and nations, for we ask it in the name of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. Amen.