The other day I found myself humming and then meditating on the Hymn “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.” Henry Van Dyke penned this poem to be sung to Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.” I sat with the first bit of verse three “Thou art giving and forgiving, ever blessing ever blessed.” I pondered God’s nature particularly as a ‘blesser.’ It strikes me that this is an essential quality of God. God is a blessing God!
I went on a bit of a word search and arrived at a definition of the word ‘bless’ which scratched my itch. To bless is to invoke God’s very presence and power inviting that presence into a given situation for the good of those being so blessed. God’s very presence is the ultimate blessing because God is Love and by nature the Divine Blesser.
Such an invocation is a powerful thing! Indeed, it is the hope of the world.
All this crashed powerfully on the shores of my mind because I have been a part of a study and a group that has determined to be ‘blessers,’ after the character of God as revealed in Christ. If an act designed to bless someone actually invokes God’s presence in a life or situation, then there is nothing small or trivial about blessing others. A simple kindness done in Christ’s name becomes a means of invoking God’s Kingdom.
Time and again in scripture we read of God’s loving kindness. We of the Church often want to be involved in ‘grander’ schemes when the powerful and simple example of loving kindness shines from page after page!
I recall to mind the mandate we had for Up Town Church during its hey days, that we all were being called to a ministry of kindness. It seems we never graduate from this for it is God’s means of invoking his presence i.e.. Ushering in the Kingdom of God.
Patrick in his famous ‘Breast Plate’ demonstrates the power of invocation! Like Elijah before the prophets of Baal we invite God and his Kingdom tangibly to be evident. Nothing I can do or say could rival that in its bower to change circumstances.
In advocating for a life of ‘blessing’ do not hear what I am not saying. We still bless with our words! The Good News is the greatest blessing we can share. What I do suggest is that acts of kindness, both big and small, create openings to the Kingdom of God.
Peter in his Epistle fully expects that when we align with God’s heart, that we will be asked. When by our lifestyle of kindness in Jesus’ Name we invoke such opportunities we are to prepare to point to the Ultimate Blesser.
I want to tread carefully here, but I want to say that ‘social justice’ done for any other reason than in Jesus Name, however good it may be, does not invoke God’s Kingdom. Equally words proclaimed with no evidence of blessing lack Kingdom power.
We of the Church make ‘ministry’ seem beyond many but God in His Kindness has made powerful ministry available to all! Kindness is our chief tool to help our friends and neighbours. Loving kindness is a chief weapon against forces of this present age which would keep people blind and enslaved.
How can we neglect so great an instrument when it is easily used by all!
On another note.
We are going through a time of difficult time at Threshold House. Such times are not unexpected in a community of recovery, but they are challenging, nevertheless.
In October we will begin a workshop on Tuesdays on the Foundations of Recovery.
Next week we hold our first Breakfast & a Message of Hope. We hope for a nice turn out with a view to making this a monthly event.
The wound in my back is healing nicely but remains very itchy and uncomfortable which makes sleep difficult. I find myself dragging through the days and with heavy eye lids in the evenings.
Please pray for Steve, our new Night Assistant as he settles in. Pray for God to supply all his needs, and for our partnership.