God of new life,
we come with our praises and prayers.
We come rejoicing in the mystery of the Risen Christ,
present among us always;
blessing us with life-giving good news,
We come led and nurtured by your Holy Spirit.
Thank you for all your blessings,
For our family, friends and neighbours.
Thank you for all the beauty
In the skies, the lakes and the mountains.
Thank you for all the excitement of celebration,
Birthdays, weddings and christenings.
Thank you for all the variety of animals, birds and insects.
Thank you for all the enrichment of music, art and literature.
Thank you for the amazing jigsaw of life!
What a beautiful picture is made when we place all these pieces together!
Thank you for the promise of eternity,
For the sacrifices you made so that we can be free,
Free to make our lives into a glorious patchwork of thanksgiving
That carries us onwards to the promises of new heavenly pieces to add to all that we already hold.
We Thank you Lord....
Shall we now pray the words he taught us: Our Father…
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the Kingdom the power and the glory forever and ever” Amen
Glorious God, we know that your capacity to love is infinitely greater than our own ability. Indeed, you call us to love one another in truth and in action. We yearn to be active disciples, so that our hearts truly abide with you. Use these gifts to increase our ability to be your followers. In the name of the One who laid down his life for us, Jesus Christ, we pray.
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad,because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
We Listen to God’s Word & Pray for Understanding
As your word is read, may it settle upon us
and nestle deep within us.
May it become more life-giving than the air we breathe,
more solid than the earth beneath our feet,
more powerful than the gravity that draws your creation together.
It is a blessing to be here with you today.
My sermon topic is “Giving and Receiving Blessings.”
There are so many facets to what we consider to be blessings – like joy, healing, grace, and gratitude.
In the movie “White Christmas” Bing Crosby sings “When I’m worried and I can’t sleep,I count my blessings instead of sheep.”
We know on some level that we have many blessings, and that when we become aware of them, or count them, the natural response is to feel gratitude, a feeling that dispels our worries. But are our blessings the good countable “things” in our lives – things we are grateful for? That may be one aspect of blessings, but there is more to it.
In David Spangler’s book “Blessing: The Art and the Practice,” he describes blessing as an invocation of the presence and power of the sacred. He encourages all of us, to experience the rewards of being a conduit for God’s blessings. We can bless through a kind word, a prayer, a ritual, a gesture, an embrace, or a gift – but the blessing is the sacred space that is experienced rather than the outward visible sign that helped convey the blessing.
A blessing is more than something you like or a kindness. A blessing is that which lifts us toward experiencing our spiritual nature. It brings Spirit into the picture. It gets us in touch with the essence qualities of God – like wholeness and perfection.
The phrase “circular blessing” comes to mind. It can become clear that every blessing has the potential to bless both the giver and receiver of any blessing.
We pray that our blessings have a positive effect on those we are blessing. Yet we, too, are reaping great benefit from being a blesser!
On a psychological level, when we bless, we are thinking good thoughts. Good thoughts feel good. We open our minds to something better or greater, which gives us hope for a happier future. Positive thoughts naturally have a positive impact on our mind and our body.
On a spiritual level, we are opening to God’s Good flowing through us outward into the world. We become joined with the brotherhood of God’s people. Blessings are a way of re-membering God’s family.
Many of us have had the joy of sharing blessings through prayers of the people. We’ve prayed for one another, especially those on our weekly prayer list, asking for God’s healing blessings for our extended church family. When we pray for another’s health and well-being, there is a range of experiences that we can have. My focus today is on the connection we can feel when we are extending blessings from a place of spiritual connection.
An image that comes to mind is a hose that has the potential to spray water onto a garden. My word of blessing is like turning the tap that allows the water to flow through the hose. The hose gets to feel the water flowing through it while the garden receives the benefit of the sprayed water. In the same way, any blessing I invoke flows through me, touching and cleansing me in the process. The water and the blessing are not mine. I am just the channel through which it flows when I am willing to turn the tap. That is the experience of “circular blessing.”
On the other hand, if I speak the words of a blessing while feeling separate and vulnerable, it is as if the hose is not attached to the water source. Nothing flows through it. As St. Paul writes in I Corinthians 13, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”
The power of the blessing is in staying connected to our Source, to our Creator, and allowing the Divine Presence to flow through my heart, mind, and soul.
The power of “circular blessing” is in remembering to connect to the Father’s Love that heals and transforms. That’s the Good News. I am not responsible for creating the blessing. My job is to invite God’s blessing and allow it to do its work.
The one who blesses from a state of communion with God is the voice for God in that moment. We are the hands and feet of God in the world, and we are invited to be the conduit for God’s blessings in any environment or circumstance.
What do we choose moment by moment? Do we extend blessings, or judge and complain? Do we just say “God bless you” when someone sneezes?
When I sneeze and you say “God bless you” where is your focus of attention? Are you present with me? affirming my health? wondering if I have a contagious cold or just an allergy? or maybe you just said it out of reflex and your mind was a million miles away, not really present with me or divinity.
Where your attention is when you say “God bless you” does make a difference. Maybe the next time you say it, there will be an extra dose of God’s Presence in your mind.
Most of us don’t speak blessings on a regular basis, but we can begin to exercise our blessing muscles.
We can choose to feel gratitude and give praise for the blessings in our lives while remembering the Source of our Good.
We can speak a blessing before meals, giving thanks for the abundance and variety of our nourishment.
We can enjoy the blessing of our freedom.
We can notice the miracles that flow from being a blesser instead of a complainer.
We can bless those who seem sad, confused, or lost from a place of peace in our own lives.
We can bless through mercy, kindness, compassion, beauty, and humor.
A deep spiritual blessing, in full openness to God’s Unconditional Love, can crack the heart wide open. Instead of my individual desire to wish another well, there is no “other”, just another part of myself seen through God’s eyes. Divine Wholeness is a healing balm that can be experienced by giving blessings.
In the Beatitudes (today’s Gospel reading of Matthew 5:3-12) Jesus speaks of people normally thought to be in disfavor. He pronounces them blessed because He tells us that God’s Healing Presence is available to all His Children. He teaches us that we, even in our brokenness, are due to receive an abundant life in God’s kingdom, regardless of our status or circumstances.
Blessing is a holy act that any Child of God can do, not just Jesus. It is our spiritual duty to remember that. We can and should bless by offering God’s blessing silently or aloud. Silent blessings are powerful, too, shining the Love of God into the world.
All things made by God are His children. Bless them all. Feel the healing power of “circular blessing.” There is a spiritual principle that what you give comes back to you. Give blessings, and you will receive blessings.
Practice makes perfect. Bless often. Hold God’s Hand, and ask for His Help to Bless with His Eternal Unconditional Love. With God’s help we are His Blessing in the world.
My message today is to bring awareness to the benefit of blessing, both giving and receiving.
We come to church to be reminded of our spiritual nature. Be willing to allow your spiritual nature to expand and express through the practice of blessing.
My prayer for each of you is that your heart fully opens to receive Spirit’s richest blessings of unconditional love and divine communion.