Prayer: “Almighty God, give Your people grace to hear Your Word, to receive it with a pure heart and to bring forth the fruits of the Spirit. Hear us, O Lord. Help and comfort all who are in danger, need and trouble. Hear us, O Lord. Protect the sick and show Your compassion to prisoners. Her us, O Lord. Defend the orphans, widows and all who are sad and oppressed. Provide for all their needs. Hear us, O Lord. Grant us joy and thankfulness for Your ceaseless gifts to us all. Hear us, O Lord.” (Taize “Praise in all our Days” Mowbray, 1981, pg. 194).
Read St Luke 10: 21 – 23
Filled with joy and the Holy Spirit, Jesus begins to pray a prayer of thanksgiving.
Read this prayer of thanksgiving:“At that same time, Jesus felt the joy that comes from the Holy Spirit, and he said: My Father, Lord of heaven and earth, I am grateful that you hid all this from wise and educated people and showed it to ordinary people. Yes, Father, that is what pleased you. My Father has given me everything, and he is the only one who knows the Son. The only one who really knows the Father is the Son. But the Son wants to tell others about the Father, so that they can know him too. Jesus then turned to his disciples and said to them in private, “You are really blessed to see what you see!” (Contemporary English Version. Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society)
You are really blessed to see what you see. You are really blessed to hear what you hear each Sunday in Church. The Good News is for all ordinary people. We don’t have to be special or have any designation in order to receive and hear the Gospel.
As Presbyterians we don’t comment very much about blessings. We hear the Benediction said by the Minister each Sunday. Out of all the elements of worship, we frequently miss really hearing the Benediction... we're fall into the trap of thinking that worship is done and what in the heck will we have for lunch.... or what is the quickest route to the Church's bathroom. But stop for a minute. At the end of worship as the Minister is saying the Benediction (Blessing), bow your head in awe at the love of God. Stop and hear the blessings. Listen to the blessing that is given.
But do you consider yourself blessed? In some cultures being “blessed” means being wealthy and having a lot of children and having an amazing house. Yet this is not what Jesus is saying at all. To be blessed means to be able to say that Jesus is our Lord and Saviour and he loves us greatly.
Blessings are positive and are filled with joy and peace. As the new Pope stood in front of the crowd for the very first time last week, he asked the people to bless him and pray for him. And then he blessed them. How cool is that.
This Lent, how will you live out the blessing that God has given to you? How will you be a blessing?
Prayer: O God, for the blessings You have bestowed upon us, we give You thanks and praise. Make us alert to Your presence so that we may eagerly serve You and follow in the steps of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. Amen.