I was able to take a pilgrimage to Israel in Seminary and meet Archbishop of Jerusalem Father Elias Chacour, who was doing work to build schools to education Jews, Muslims & Christians together to sow peace.
Father Chacour said that “blessing” has a very active meaning in his (and Jesus’s) native tongue of Aramaic.
To be blessed, means to be called to work into God. In essence every time we read that someone is “Blessed” we should probably actually translate it as Genesis 12:2 “You are blessed, now go and be a blessing” (Read the Beatitudes this way, and I guarantee it will rock your world)
I love it. Sometimes I think I want to start a new church plant and call it
Bless and be Blessing
Blessings are funky, because we try to think that they are limited. Throughout the New Testament the disciples are worried about how liberal Jesus blesses and heals people. Their attitude continues to be “shouldn’t you save some of that for later/more of it for us” As if there is a LIMIT to the amount of blessings int he world. I can imagine Jesus continually chuckling at their confusing and explaining, again, that this is not how blessings work.
The most modern parallel I can see to this is safety. In the modern era we act like there is only so much safety to go around, we have to grab our safeness “quick” before its all taken. Also, counterwise, if someone else is safe, that means we cannot also be safe, because that group has “taken up” the safety.
Objectively put, we can see how ridiculous the idea of limited safety and blessing is….but the church, and the United States continue to act as if blessing and safety are limited.
When in fact, when one person is more safe, the entire community is more safe.
When in fact when you are blessed, then you also are being called to go and be a blessing and share it out as much as possible.
How changed is our life is we act like blessings and safety (i.e. Peace) are actually from the never-ending bounty of God.