Twelve-year-old Lyric Osei (pronounced “oh-say”) recentlyhad the “Gift of the Blessing” bestowed upon her at Anointed Temple of Praise in the Hickory Hill community.
The bestowal came during an elaborate ceremony (Dec. 4) orchestrated by her mother, Regina Osei.
“More than 30 years ago, I was in a Bible study that introduced to me a book called, ‘The Blessing,’ written by John Trent and Gary Smalley,” said Regina Osei.
“I was intrigued because the authors talked about blessing your children at different times in their life. That concept got down in my spirit, and I said, ‘I want to do that for my children some day. But at that time, I was single with no children.”
The “Gift of the Blessing” created for Lyric Osei was a dramatic spectacle of costume and dance performed against a musical backdrop of African drums and spellbinding flippers.
“As part of the Blessing, Lyric was ‘married’ to her father, Prince Osei,” said Regina Osei.
“This ceremony is similar to the purity ceremony performed in many Christian families. The child promises to remain pure and chaste until the Lord sends her husband. Both the child and father repeat vows to each other before the father gives the child a ring. Prince Osei placed a ring on Lyric’s ring finger, and that officially ended the formal ceremony.”
Regina Osei earned her masters in divinity from Memphis Theological Seminary. She received an undergraduate degree from Memphis State University, now the University of Memphis.
The Osei family’s older daughter, Cion Osei, experienced her “Gift of the Blessing” in 2018. Regina Osei said compared to Lyric’s ceremony, planning Cion’s event was a piece of cake.
“We’re in the middle of a pandemic,” she said. “Finding a place and securing the dancers and other performers – just planning the whole event was nightmarish. But in the end, God just worked everything out, including finding the place for the ceremony. Everything else just fell into place.”
Regina Osei said other families have created some of the same kinds of ceremonies and rites of passage.
“One father told me he planned a similar event for his son,” she said. “There was a big dinner in his son’s honor, and family members and friends came from all over the country to attend. Everyone brought the son gifts and pronounced blessings over the young boy’s life. That’s very similar to how we planned Lyric’s ceremony.”
According to Osei, parents can fashion such events for their children, depending on tenets of their faith and personal preferences.
Blessing others with divine favor is deeply embedded in Christian tradition.
“In the case of Jacob and Esau, there is a difference in how their lives turned out,” said Regina Osei.
“Jacob received the blessing of his father, and Esau did not. So bestowing blessing to children, from generation to generation is important.”
Prince Osei, who is from Ghana, met Regina Taylor, while she was in Ghana working in ministry during a four-year stint.
Regina Osei says there is a similar ceremony and celebration – “The Outdooring” – in Ghana’s culture. Traditionally, the ceremony occurs eight days after the child is born. Parents bring their newborn “outdoors” for the first time and give the child a day name. Family and friends all gather to celebrate the occasion.