Vol 2:1 A Missional Blessing

It’s good to be back writing after the Christmas and New Year’s break – I hope you all had a joyous Christmas and I pray for blessings upon you in this unfolding New Year. I use the term “blessings” perhaps in a little different way that is normally understood.

Often when we pass on blessings, we are wishing something good or bountiful for another – and often we may catch ourselves believing we are privileged because we are blessed. However, from both a biblical and missional perspective, I would like to reframe a common misunderstanding of being blessed.

I used to think of blessing as graces I have received from God, which though I understood as being undeserved, nonetheless I somehow felt I was privileged because I was blessed. Blessings were something I had received from God for my own well-being. However, a couple of years ago as I was leading the congregation I serve in a series on the Beatitudes, we began understanding the blesseds, not so much as “being happy,” but as beginning to develop our ears and eyes to notice what God is seeing and hearing. The poor or poor in spirit are blessed (Matthew 5:3), as well as those who mourn, those who are meek, those who are seeking for justice, those who act with mercy in an unmerciful world, those who are pure, those who stand in the way of violence as peacemakers, because God is taking notice of them; God somehow hears their cries, sees their sufferings and says to them “I see you, I hear you – I will be with you and yours is the kingdom of heaven.”

In being the missional people of God, our blessings are not so much of what we receive from God, though indeed we have received much for which we ought to gratefully respond in worship, but rather, our blessings are realized when we notice what God is noticing in the world which transforms our hearts and lives to participate with God in God’s redemptive mission of seeing God’s will being done on earth, just as it is in heaven.

Our being blessed is to be invited to participate with God in making all things new. I desire no other blessing than being part of God’s project of creating a new humanity and a new creation that God is bringing about in our world. In yielding myself to God, in yielding my life to the Spirit to surrender all that is still unsurrendered in my life to Christ and his lordship, in offering myself to God’s purposes, for God to do in me what God desires to do so that I can be a sign, foretaste, and instrument of God’s present and coming reign is true blessing – all other blessings pale in comparison.

And so I offer this prayer of blessing – which I also shared with my community:

May you be aware of God’s actions all around you, May you notice what God notices, May you be attuned to God’s ways.

May you be open to God encountering you, May you hear God speaking to you, May you sense God’s presence with you and leading you.

May you live your life in worshipful response, Loving God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, And loving your neighbor as yourself.

Indeed, may your New Year be blessed!

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