Unlikely Blessings

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Last week, the gospel passage read in many of our services was the beatitudes. I’ve always loved this passage. At the beginning of his ministry, Jesus proclaims blessing. Not only that but Jesus blesses the most unlikely people. He proclaims the gifts and favor of God’s kingdom will fall not on the social media darlings who proclaim themselves #blessed but on those who mourn, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, etc..

In our culture, the word blessing is used to describe anything good that happens. As in “I got the parking spot closest to the entrance…” That’s not necessarily wrong but Jesus uses blessings in a much more challenging way. Jesus’ blessings call us to have a prophetic imagination. It’s like he’s saying, “You…hey you…the one who the world ignores…the one that the world considers broken…yes, you. God is with you too!”

While it’s a beautiful and poetic passage, the beatitudes should challenge us. We have to wrestle with the fact that we don’t get to police God’s blessings. You know those people you find it hard to like right now? God has a place for them. You know those parts of yourself that you find difficult to accept? Could God be at work even there? Can we, as God’s people, proclaim God’s presence even where we least expect to find it? Such a radical act of hope, just might turn the world upside down.

So today’s challenge has three parts:

1- Read the beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12).

2-Take the time to write a blessing for people in your life, taking special note of the unlikely (those you might normally skip over or be resistant to bless) or those who desperately need one. I’ve written one below if you need an example.

3- Ask God to give you opportunities to be a blessing to others this week (and then follow through on those opportunities).

A Blessing for West Ada (and schools around the country)
Blessed be the teachers:
The teachers who are tired
The teachers who are scared
The teachers who are frustrated that plans keep changing
The teachers who have their own children learning remotely and have to manage that while teaching their own class
The teachers who have been verbally abused
Who have been threatened
Who have been accused of not caring about their students
Who have been accused of being lazy
Who have been asked to manage overcrowded classrooms while social distancing
Who have to manage teaching multiple students at multiple capacity levels over multiple platforms in multiple locations.

Blessed be the parents:
The parents who are tired
The parents who are scared
The parents who are frustrated
The parents who can’t afford an extra day at daycare
The parents who don’t understand computers
Whose child has special needs
Who have to go to work
Who worry about their child being home alone
Who work remotely and are torn between their work and managing their child’s schooling
Who are homeless with no space for their child during the day
Who have no safe space to express their anxiety and anger so it sometimes falls on the wrong people

Blessed be the support staff:
Nurses
Custodians
Paraprofessionals
Crossing guards and Safety assistants
Counselors and social workers
Secretaries
Nutrition staff
All who could make more working at Amazon…
Or UPS…
Or Costco…
But who keep showing up
To keep kids from getting sick
To keep kids safe
To keep kids fed

Blessed be the Students:
The students who are frustrated
The students who need consistent routines to feel safe
The students who only eat at school
The students who feel unsafe at home
The students who are disappointed
The students who are anxious
The students who feel like they are missing out

May you all know that you are not alone
May you all remember that you have the strength to do hard things
May you find the courage to ask for help when you need it
May you have the patience to listen to one another
May you find that you are surrounded by ordinary angels and everyday heroes
People who are generous
People who are compassionate
People who are resilient
All of whom are utterly ordinary
May they offer you a safe haven when you feel beaten down by life
May you become a safe haven to others too
May God have mercy on us all

Sarah Henthorn

Sarah Henthorn

Member of Trinity Lutheran, Nampa ID

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Penelope J Smith

    Amen. Let love and compassion begin with me and flow to all whom You love.

  2. Connie Seymour

    You dealt with a lot of hard issues felt by teachers, parents, support staff, and students. It is a very complicated situation. Thank you for bringing all those issues forward. May all of those people be truly blessed.

  3. Mary Braudrick

    Your 3-part challenge is accepted —& your examples & prayer were so beautifully thorough. Thank you for your inspired words, Sarah.

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