Wednesday, 2 March 2016

“I will bless you … and you will be a blessing.” (Genesis 12:2 NIV)

A blessing has an important part to play in the journey of  the people of faith. The Old Testament has great stories over different people being blessed or not blessed in the right order. Jesus talks about blessings. The image of Jesus blessing little Children is very tender and a favourite of Victorian Stained Glass window artists although somehow the joy of the moment can be lost in some very solemn depictions.

In the New Testament, there are two primary Greek words translated as “blessing.” Makarios which carries the meaning of happiness. The happy state of those who find their purpose and fulfillment in God is shown in the Beatitudes of Matthew ch 5 and Luke ch 6 as in other parts of the Bible it means the best life is available for those who love and fear God and order their lives according to His Word.
In  the book of Romans there is a lovely little blessing  “Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.” (ch 4 v 6 - 8)

The other word Eulogeo focuses more on good words or the good report that others give of someone this also describes - giving thanks, the blessing that we say over our food. The word   “eulogy,” stems from this, used about speaking well of someone who has passed away. There is a great blessing in Ephesians 'Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. (ch 1 v 3)and in 1 Peter  "Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. (ch 3 v9)

On my trip to the Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury District I visited the Revd G. Mark Stobert who is the lead chaplain in Dudley at Russells Hospital NHS Trust. I have met Mark before but never been round the wards with him, what was astonishing was the way he blessed the doctors, nurses, cleaners in fact anyone who works there. When I accompanied him into the Accident and Emergency Ward he wandered in the midst of the busyness blessing the staff. I noticed how they leaned forward for his light touch. It was very moving one of the nurses said to me 'I've got to have my blessing, it gets me through!'

In experiencing the Revd Mark doing this I was deeply moved. This touch of blessing is used by the Holy Spirit in a most wonderful way and Rev Mark is quite laid back about it he has the great gift of allowing the Lord to use him and relaxing in it, a true vessel.

How can we bless people more effectively?

What about the very practical blessings when we support 'All we can' or 'Action for Children'. This is only a little exploration I've done in my quiet time but prompted by Mark I hope that I can increase my blessings to people I encounter.