Pastor Shawn Hannon
Hope Lutheran Church Arcade, NY
What comes to mind when you hear the word blessing? I ask because I’ve noticed when we say blessing we mean all sorts of different things. For example, if I asked you to count your blessings you might start thinking about the good things in your life from the material to the intangible. If I asked you to say a blessing, let’s say before a meal, on the other hand, you wouldn’t simply name one of the blessings from the question before. You’d pray. When young couples seek their parents’ approval before getting married, they ask for their blessing. When we worship, we bless the Lord. When we dip our fingers into a baptismal font we call that water blessed. We believe it is different somehow from the water that just made our morning coffee or washed our hands. We sing God bless the USA. We send message to one another using the words “God bless.”
The first thing I notice when I reflect upon that list is how central blessing is in our life. It’s all around us. From our hopes for our shared life together to our worship to the bread we break with our families, blessing abounds. And the second thing I notice is that everywhere there are blessings, there is a relationship. From understanding God as the source of the goodness in our lives to couples seeking the affirmation of their elders to strangers blessing strangers on the street, blessing never happens alone. Blessing only flourishes when parties come together.
As 2017 came to a close, you may have paused for a moment to reflect on your blessings. As 2018 kicks off, you may be hoping for a wonderful year. My hope for all of us is that we might begin to see blessing as more than just the stuff we have or a decorative word to hang on our dining room walls, but instead see blessing all around us. Then, having seen God’s blessing, that we might stop counting and start sharing by blessing God and one another.
Blessing is what you have, but it’s also what you do. Blessing is a prayer we say, but it’s also a state of gratitude. Blessed is what God makes us, but it’s also how we respond to God. So as you move into 2018 hoping for blessing to abound, may the fullness of that blessing come to life in you.
May your table overflow. May your faith ever grow. May you love God and neighbor, experiencing and sharing God’s favor, this year and forever. Amen.
For more inspiration and insights from Pastor Scott and Pastor Shawn’s past columns, please visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on the Faith Matters page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.