Are you "Blessed?"
It seems line everywhere I go these days, I see plaques and pillows (and mugs, etc.) that say “Blessed.” And at first glance, I think: “Isn’t that nice? The person has gratitude for all the good things in his/her life.:”
As I think about it, though, I have to admit that part of me is curious why all those who are “blessed” aren’t necessarily doing much to share their ”blessings ” with others. They are not (necessarily) the first people at church sharing their joy about God’s action in their lives. And if I really want to get snarky about it, why not take the money for the “blessed” pillow and donate to causes for those who are...shall we say, “less-blessed?”
Maybe it’s because Fall (and election season), and Thanksgiving, and blessings all get rolled together, but I feel like I’m seeing more of the decor, and a lot less of the behaviors one would expect from those who are, in fact, blessed.
So, that leads me to two thoughts. On the negative side: perhaps people are saying they are blessed as a way of advertising their well-being. Let’s be clear: prosperity is not the same as being blessed. Having a good life does not mean you have pleased God. It means you have been fortunate, and you have a lot for which to be thankful. Similarly, having difficulty in your life, or illness, or poverty, does not mean God is punishing you. As we learn in Luke’s Sermon on the Plain (Luke 6:20-31) you can be poor, hungry, weeping, and/or hated and still God will love and bless you.
So that brings me to the second, slightly more positive, thought. Maybe all the “blessed” bling is our aspiration. We may be hurting now, but we hope there will be blessing in it. We trust that God is acting in our lives, even when we do not feel it.
We have our pillow and a mug to remind ourselves. “When I feel lost and lonely, I can fill up this mug with hot coffee and feel God’s warmth fill me. When I am tired and afraid, I can put my head on this pillow and rest in the Lord.”
I honestly hope and pray that for those who feel the need to have “blessed’ in their lives, that they will find a way to bring “blessed”—in and through and of Christ—to others. After all, Miriam Webster’ third definition of “blessed” is “bringing pleasure, contentment or good fortune.” Perhaps we should all try to be blessed by bringing good things to those around us! Here’s one way…
Have you ever pulled up to a traffic light and seen someone with a sign saying, “In need. Please help”? It can be awkward to sit at the light and not know what to do. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a ready-made kit that you could just hand over?
There is! It’s called a blessing bag. It contains items that people on the street most often need: water, shelf-stable food, a dry pair of socks, and information on places to get a hot meal and help. In our mission budget this year, we set side funds for outreach. Let’s take some of those funds to buy the items for blessing bags, and put as many bags together as possible. Please join me on Sunday, November 17 after Coffee Hour for this simple workshop.
We could use some help shopping for the items. If you’re interested, I can give you the shopping list, Tax-exempt certificate, and funds to cover the purchase. We will need to have everything ready to go by November 19.
Once we make the bags, we will have them available for anyone in the parish. Keep a few in your car, and give them out as needed. You will be a blessing to others, and in turn, will truly be blessed.
Peace to all—