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Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Blessed Are... Blessed Are... Blessed Are...

Sometimes it takes a couple of days to sink in…

As we move toward ascension, I have a lot of feelings, but the most prominent one, year after year, is that of the abandonment that comes from grief.  I have blogged about it in the past and was honored to flesh it out a little more in a commentary for this week at A Plain Account, found here. 

The daily office, however, keeps leading me back to passages of comfort and blessing, and although the beatitudes do not make an appearance, I could not help but think of them.  But you know who’s comforted?  Those who mourn.  And let’s be real.  I don’t want that part.  You don’t want that part.  We don’t want that part.

Most of this is coming in fits and starts for me.

Matthew 5:

“Blessed are… blessed are… blessed are…”

Numbers 6:24-26, “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”

Psalm 80:18-19, “We will never turn back from you; give us life and we will call on your name.  Restore us, O Lord God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.”

Matthew 13:16, “But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.

Those two men in white in the ascension story want the apostles to stop looking up into the sky.  We always assume they are helpful to the narrative (and I suppose they probably are), but this has me thinking about something I say to my children when I want to know they are definitely listening to me, that they really hear me.  I say, “Look at my face.”

Ascension is difficult, because we mourn and grieve as we lose sight of Jesus’ face.  Blessing generally comes with his face toward ours and our faces fixed on his, and we understand that kind of blessing.  As I write about it, today, I can feel it in the pit of my stomach.  It is the kind of blessing that makes us forget about everything that surrounds us, because our eyes are fixed on just one thing.  Our ears are fixed on just one thing, and it is so good.

But that other kind of blessing…  the one that only comes when we have mourned, when comfort becomes valuable to us…  it’s harder to swallow.  Could we not just skip the part that hurts?  And what of the heartrending moments in which we cannot see Jesus, at all? 

Perhaps we might pray:

II Timothy 2:2b, “… that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.”

Sometimes blessings are hard earned and the furthest thing from what we ever wanted.  That’s probably when we need to be blessed the very most.


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