This week Phil Stone gives us a challenge to bless, to say good things..
We have just finished our Palm Sunday service here in the Chapel at Scargill. Many a sermon has been given on this significant day in Jesus’ life. What struck me afresh is the adulation that welcomed Jesus from the crowd as he entered Jerusalem, and then in a few days time the same crowd will be shouting insults and wanting him dead. The crowd move from blessing to cursing with unnerving ease. Henri Nouwen says that to bless is to simply says good things about another. How crucial this is as we live in a world that gives out curses so liberally. If we bless one another our understanding of who we are in God grows and deepens. Curses destroy, blessings give life.
How important it is to bless, never more so than in Community which is full of relational challenges! There is nothing like living and working together to realise the need to bless when at times there is a deep desire to curse. Our community promises speak about building community for which we will need to be ‘consistently, transparently, constructively, unsentimentally loving’. People making their promises say, “We can learn and improve in our efforts to strengthen the bonds of love in this community. Sometimes we will get very cross with people and find it difficult to love them. Sometimes they will feel the same about us. We will not say anything about others that we would not say to them directly if love and wisdom required it. With God’s help, and with encouragement and guidance from the brothers and sisters who share this pathway, we promise to try our very best to follow the example of Jesus.”
As we begin to understand that we are called ‘beloved’, what a joy it is to enable others to find that truth for themselves. Henri Nouwen goes on to say that there are many ways that we can bless people:
“Therefore we have to be reminded of our belovedness and remind others of theirs. Whether the blessing is given in words or with gestures, in a solemn or an informal way, our lives need to be blessed lives.”
So may Jesus Christ richly bless you as you journey with him this Holy Week.