Blessings Abound


The Pas Proper / Ordinary 14 – Pentecost + 7 – Trinity + 6
Year B
8 July 2018

Psalm 48 pg 765
2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10
2 Corinthians 12:2-10
Mark 6:1-13

God of the prophets,
in every age you send the word of truth, familiar yet new.
Let us not be counted among those who lack faith,
but give us vision to see Christ in our midst
and to welcome your saving word.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen.

How often are we blessed by God in ways we wouldn’t even, normally, expect?

This is an interesting thought, isn’t it?

In the reading from 2 Samuel, for today, David is being acknowledged, by the people, as king over Israel.

They said: “2 In the past, while Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns. And the Lord said to you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.’”
3 When all the elders of Israel had come to King David at Hebron, the king made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel.” (2 Sam 5:2-3)

Now, if we remember, the prophet Samuel anointed David as king, in his youth, and David has grown up with the knowledge that this day would come, some day, one day, and here it is!

He’s grown up with the idea that God is with him, that he is the anointed king of Israel, of Judah. But a promise, an anointing that had to wait until he was ready, mature enough to assume the role, steady enough to be the leader, the king that God envisioned when God told Samuel to anoint him.

And yet, it has taken all of this time.

When we baptize, we make promises, we respond to the love of God, and we anoint the baptized with oil, and with the Holy Spirit.

Like David’s anointing, in his youth, the promise of God is with the baptized, it’s with each of us who has been baptized, and who, like David, has grown up knowing that God has a plan for him, a plan for each one of us, and that plan would, one day be revealed, and we would know that we’ve been living in the love of God all of our lives, and living out that love to all around us.

And like David, knowing that all things come from God, and it is to God that we are moving, we are asked to make promises to put God first, to follow God in all things, no matter where that may lead us.

The baptismal covenant promises that are made between us, between our hearts, and God, ask:

“Do you believe in God the Father?
[and we say, in the words of the Apostles’ Creed] I believe in God, The Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God?
[and we say] I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

Do you believe in God the Holy Spirit?
[and we say] I believe in God the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.

Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers?
[and we say] I will, with God’s help.

Will you persevere in resisting evil and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?
People I will, with God’s help.

Will you proclaim by word and example the good news of God in Christ?
People I will, with God’s help.

Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbour as yourself?
People I will, with God’s help.

Will you strive for justice and peace among all
people, and respect the dignity of every human being?
People I will, with God’s help.

Will you strive to safeguard the integrity of God’s creation, and respect, sustain and renew the life of
the Earth?
People I will, with God’s help.” (BAS pg 158-9)

When we receive God’s blessing, when we open our lives, our hearts to the workings of the Holy Spirit, in our baptisms, and recently in the rite of confirmation, how are we blessed?

Do we feel blessed? Do we feel the Holy Spirit moving about in side of us waking the talents the gifts, the blessings that we’ve received all of our lives?

Like a flu shot, it doesn’t change how we act or who we are, but we know that its there, working within us, and for the Holy Spirit, within our lives.

So, then, how do we live into that blessing?

How do we grow in the love of God, in the same way David grew into his potential, his destiny, his anointing to be the king of Israel?

Even today, if we talk of kings of Israel, David’s name is always first on the list of the great kings who have led the Israelite people.

This doesn’t mean we don’t make mistakes. It doesn’t mean we don’t allow arrogance and pride to invade and twist the good we are capable of into our own patterns instead of how God sees our actions unfolding to the benefit of all of creation.

Again, we can look to David. He wasn’t a perfect ruler. He didn’t not make mistakes. Rather he learned from them, he atoned for them, he grew from them and accepted God’s will for his life at every step.

And regarding our baptismal promises, just look at what it is we promise: We promise to be active in our attendance and participation in the life of the church.

We promise to repent of our failings, of our sins, of our errors, and return to the love of God, on a regular basis.

We promise to live the word of God in our actions in the world.

We promise to look after all persons, regardless of race, creed, or colour, as if we were serving Christ himself.

We promise to look after and defend those who are suffering issues of injustice, or who live in areas that are not able to enjoy the freedoms of peace.

And we promise to look after creation as if we were living in the garden of Eden.

We make a lot of promises, and these promises are huge! But at the same time, in the midst of these promises, in the midst of renewing our baptismal vows, we don’t walk this life, this path this world alone.

David didn’t, and we don’t.

Rather God, Christ, the Holy Spirit walks with us, guides us, provides us with inspiration, with ideas, with solutions, and leads us where we need to be, when we need to be there.

If we look at the life David lived, before today’s passage in 2 Samuel, he spent time in the king’s court. He was threatened, he was hunted. At the same time, he was loved, and he was betrayed, often in the same breath and by the same person.

But at the same time, he gained valuable experiences of what he means to be in the king’s court, of what happens in such places, and how such learning experiences can be beneficial in the unknown future. Of what it means to be the sole earthly leader of the Israelite people, and what God also expects of this earthly ruler, as well.

When we see Jesus, in today’s gospel, he to is striving to live into the blessings that fill his life, blessing that come from God, but even he hits opposition to receiving, to living out the promises of God.

Todays gospel tells us: “2 When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.
“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? … And they took offense at him.
4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” 5 He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6 He was amazed at their lack of faith.” (Mk 6:2, 3d-6)

So, it comes back to the question of how often are we blessed by God in ways we wouldn’t even, normally, expect? How often do we find that we have the strength to carry on in difficult circumstances? When have we felt supported and surrounded by love when we are alone? Where have we been when suddenly words come to us and we declare them, knowing that they’re just what someone else needs to hear, at that moment?

Its still an interesting thought, isn’t it?

We are blessed more often than we are able to imagine. We are blessed in ways that God cannot even count, and in directions that can only make the future better.

Not every day is rosy, not every experience is one that feels blessed. Yet, like David, we are able to learn from such experiences. We’re able to, like Jesus, like David gain valuable insight into the people God surrounds us with in our lives and take that insight with us on our journey of life.
In today’s gospel, Jesus didn’t allow the doubts of his home town to stop him from healing, from teaching from encouraging his disciples to go into the world and perform healings and miracles in the world as well.

David didn’t allow the attempts on his life by Saul, by those loyal to Saul to change how God will use David to be one of the greatest kings of Israel’s history.

The only difference between David, Jesus and us is that they were aware that this is all by God’s design. They were aware that God had great destinies for each of them.

We, too, live out great destinies. We live out the lives of faith, as true to our baptismal promises as we are able, knowing that we are guided by God, blessed in ways we cannot imagine, and a blessing to others because of God’s presence in our lives, today, and tomorrow.

How are we blessed? In more ways than there are stars in the sky!


About pastorrebeccagraham

A Lutheran minister serving an Anglican parish in Northern Ontario.
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