Sunday, February 17, 2008

Born for Blessing - A Sermon

Abram was called to be blessed and to be a blessing.  

Nicodemus was called to be born from above, to be born in the spirit.  

We are Born for blessing.

Blessing means to be filled with God's presence.  To know God is with us.  To be filled with that sense of joy.

Sometimes, in Lent, it's easy to forget that joy.  Heck, sometimes in church at any time, it's easy to forget the joy.  Our prayers sometimes leave out a place to simply say, "Thank You God for a great thing that happened in my life."

True, the entire Eucharistic Prayer is one big prayer of thanks -- that's why we call it the Great Thanksgiving.  But we forget that, too.  And besides, it really doesn't give us a chance to give our praise for individual blessings. 

Like for our wonderful family, or for a job we really love, or for a new home or a new love, or great friends.  Those blessings are all around us.

So, go out of your way today to add your prayers of thanks -- to think of how God has blessed you.

And then think of Abram.

Out one night when he encounters the presence of God -- and it fills him enough to say to himself:  "I will pick up my family, leave my father's house, and go somewhere I've never been, into hardships I can't even imagine.  People will probably think I'm crazy.  And it will be SO worth it."

Think of Nicodemus.  He's a member of the ruling elite in Jerusalem.  But there is something about Jesus that makes him risk a secret nighttime visit.  Jesus tells him - "Be born from above, be born in a whole new way, not just for survivial but soar in your spirit -- You are born for blessing."  Nicodemus goes away that night a little confused -- but he gets it.  He is so filled with God's presence after that encounter that he later risks everything to be idetified with Jesus.  And like Abram, it's safe to assume he's telling himself, "This is SO worth it."

We are filled with God's blessings, you and I.  Everywhere we go, and under every circumstance, easy and hard, we are born for blessing, too.  Because no matter where we are, God is with us.  We forget that far too often.  Sometimes we don't offer enough opportunities to embrace those blessings and to praise God for them. 

So think of it as a Lenten Discipline today to stop and consider how God blesses you in little ways and big.  Then give thanks.  Amen.