Often on Sunday mornings, I end worship with an invitation to “go and be a blessing to the next person you meet.” By this I mean, be a light shining in someone else’s darkness. Take a minute to listen more deeply when you ask someone, “how are you?” This could also mean, look with your heart to see the light in the next person you meet. Each of us have that light of love, some of us just have it more buried than others. In this connection, we may help each other shine a bit brighter. Such is the work of ministry, as God’s beloved community. And in this way, we will be blessed.
In the “Sermon on the Mount” found in the New Testament, in Matthew’s gospel (Matthew 5:1-12) Jesus shares a similar understanding of blessing, or what it means to be blessed. Just after calling his first set of disciples to follow, he sits on a hillside with them to prepare them for the trouble and transformation they will encounter by committing to follow him.
The Message* has the clearest translation:
“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought. You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat. You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for. You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world. You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family. You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom. . . .
Blessed are you who follow these teachings and ways of living, which are contrary to much worldly wisdom and strength.
And, may we each find our own way to this blessing, even if it takes a lifetime, striving to move more deeply into this invitation to transformation and kingdom living.
* From The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language by Eugene H. Peterson, Navpress, 2005.