By Mark Walz
This coming Sunday, our gospel reading will be from the sixth chapter of Luke where Jesus preaches his ‘sermon on the plain.’ In this sermon, Jesus lists off blessings and woes to his disciples and followers; radical ones, too. Like, how it might be better to be poor than wealthy, or hungry than full, excluded rather than praised. It is quite an eye-opening list! But before we gather this weekend, I think it worthwhile to answer the question, ‘What even does it mean to be ‘blessed?’ You see, it occurred to me that we may not have a great understanding of what it entails and why it be something we should want? The word ‘blessing’ is not exactly a common word used in every day life in our society. It seems like an old and forgotten word with a lost, useless meaning. In fact, it is not useless at all but describes a current reality. To better understand what it means to be blessed we must go back to the beginning.
Way back in Genesis 1, when Moses records that God created man in His own image, we read in verse 28 that “God blessed them.” We then read that they were to be fruitful and they were to multiply. In simple terms, this means that our productivity and success is a blessing from God. It means that just because we do something that ought to produce a result does not mean it will. This becomes all too real when we read later how a curse upon humanity for sin is expressed in the notion that, instead of a crop, man’s toil will produce thorns. I am sure you have personally experienced this sort of frustration in a number of areas of your life; you do something well — by the book, even — and yet what results is anything but good or proper. It is like sowing seeds of strawberries and getting thistles instead. It is treating someone kindly and with respect, but you only receive anger or backbiting.
So, it is God’s intention to give us a blessing — favor expressed over our work and over our relationships. His intention is to show a reversal of the curse of Adam and Eve. This is what it means to be blessed. May we all seek it!
Hope to see you Sunday to discover more!