Tractor blessing a serious ritual
Gary Heslin believes that his farm is blessed. He trusts the power of prayer and that's why he drove his tractor to the parking lot of Pleasant Corners United Methodist Church for a blessing.
On April 3, the Rev. Joel Xavier blessed more than 14 tractors. Leading the service for the third year, the pastor of Pleasant Corners in Kasson, Minnesota, climbed aboard every one of the large machines.
"I get up on every tractor and pray," Xavier said. "The owner comes forward and also touches the tractor." The pastor includes a different blessing for each machine as each one has its own function. "I also pray for the agriculture business, research, livestock and green distribution," he said. Xavier's hope is to bless the tractors before the planting season so that the farmers can benefit from a good harvest.
Heslin, member of Pleasant Corners for the past 45 years, said that the Sunday morning tractor blessing has a serious meaning for him. "It's not just about the tractors," he said. "It's about the seed that is put in the ground, technology, tractor operators and those who repair the tractors." Heslin mainly grows corn, soybeans and hay on his several thousand-acre farm. He also raises cattle and hogs. He said that he and his family have been blessed with good crops over the years – even though in the first year of the tractor blessing the tractors broke down. "It's just the way life goes, and we have setbacks," he said. "But we depend on God for everything."
Neighbors of church members in the small town also bring their tractors for the blessing and join in worship in the church sanctuary.