By: Dr. Michael Gardner
In Church, we talk a lot about “blessings.” There’s an old hymn that invites us to be “Counting our Blessings.” When someone sneezes we say “God bless you.” On patriotic occasions, we sing “God Bless America.” The words bless and blessing are some of the most overworked words in our vocabulary!
Now, we don’t think of ourselves as “speaking theologically” when we use those words. But theology means words about God, and bless and blessing are Biblical words, so when we use them we are saying what we believe.
We pray for God to bless our team, our candidate, or our interests. Political speeches, from either party, end with “God bless America.” And too often, truth be told, when we want to rip someone apart and still sound spiritual, we just add at the end, “Bless their heart.” Bless our hearts.
We probably need to look closer at our theology of blessing! A good place to start would be what it says in the Bible. Imagine doing that!
The Biblical word for a statement of blessing is “beatitude.” And there are a lot of statements of blessing in the Bible. The most familiar ones, the ones we know as “The Beatitudes” come from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.
The most familiar form of that sermon is found in Matthew, chapters five to seven, and also in this coming Sunday’s text in Luke 6. But Jesus has a different idea of what constituted a blessing than we often do.
In worship Sunday, I will also continue with my third sermon in our Lenten series, “Beauty for Ashes,” with a message from Luke 6:20-23. The title is “Blessings from Brokenness” taken from Luke’s version of Jesus’ teachings on blessings called “The Beatitudes.” I hope to see you at 8:30, 9:45 or 11am!
This Sunday, it will also be my joy to welcome our special guest Rabbi Moti Rieber to introduce us briefly to his work with Kansas Interfaith Action. In addition he will be speaking in an adult seminar at 10am in Fellowship Hall.
If you would like to revisit a past "Beyond Believing" article, please refer to the archive.