Non-Religious Christian Spirituality

blessing after

Haven’t been feeling particularly blessed last few days. It happens. Tempted to pray for God’s blessing as always when feeling disconnected, uneasy, overwhelmed. Seems we’re always asking for God’s blessing to change things we don’t like or to stave off things we don’t want. We bless hospitals and houses, babies and midterm exams–we bless our food before we eat it as if to transfer God’s holiness and goodness to something that doesn’t already have it. But Jesus and his followers never understood blessings this way. To ancient Jews, when God made the heavens and earth, he looked and saw that they were good…you can look it up in Genesis 1. Over and over, each and everything he saw was good–couldn’t be otherwise; it was part of him. To Jews, blessings don’t transfer holiness, they are the permission or authority to partake in the abundance, the goodness that is already present all around us. When a Hebrew father gave his eldest son his blessing, it meant he now had the authority to partake of his entire estate.

We bless our food before we eat it. Jews say their blessings after they eat. A superficial difference? Profound. To bless before in order to make something pure or holy as opposed to blessing after as thanks for participation in abundance is as different as night and day. A glass half empty or half full. Is the world a dark and evil place awaiting God’s bulldozers in the last days to come scrape it clean and start over? Or is it a place of light and life and abundance at which right now we are all being called to table? In trying to placate his eldest son, the father of the prodigal says, “You are always with me, and everything I have is yours.” What part of everything don’t we understand? How can we ever get more than the everything, the allness, we already have? All good, all God…all the blessing that’s ever going to be done has already and always been completed from the very beginning.

To find a stump of carrot in an open field is a real blessing. Are we trying to bless it again?
Or simply allowing ourselves the blessing of enjoying the inconceivable blessing already in hand?

[05.15.09]

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8 responses

  1. Wonderful insight… and good for my soul today. Thanks Dave for being you… and a guide in my life. Chris

    January 6, 2015 at 10:20 am

    • I think that’s one of the nicest compliments I’ve received, Chris. And thanks for you being you as well. And…we can be us together as well. What a concept.

      January 6, 2015 at 11:54 am

  2. ( |o )====:::

    David, I love this reminder of God’s always-goodness. We’re so religiously programmed to approach life with incantation style prayer rather than simple gratefulness.

    Yeah, TheCreator creates, then comments on the quality of the creation, “It’s good”.
    I love that, not a lot of superlatives, God didn’t say, “it’s freekin’ awesome, because I AM an awesome God…”

    Good is more than good enough

    Sending our love

    January 6, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    • Actually, I think that’s the literal translation from the Hebrew in Genesis–freakin’ awesome captures it quite nicely…

      January 7, 2015 at 2:35 pm

  3. Dave, I felt I needed, perhaps for my own sake, to acknowledge the benefit received from receiving this recent post… I read it, “Liked” it, Shared it, and, just now, re-read it. Thank you for it! (I never finished reading “The Fifth Way”… perhaps intimidated by its sheer amplitude. I got it back out. I owe it to myself to break it down into bits and pieces for intake over time!) Mark

    January 7, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    • Hey Mark, so good to hear from you, and so glad the post spoke to you. I have to keep reminding myself of these things daily. So easy to slip back into familiar ways. As for the Fifth Way, I’m pretty sure you have the original edition, yes? If you are so inclined, check out the new edition here. It’s about 170 pages shorter, with new material and greatly reorganized existing material. Much more user friendly and less intimidating as you say. There’s a Kindle version too. Hope to keep talking this year.

      January 7, 2015 at 2:33 pm

  4. Really interested in your comments about authority. I am working with that concept. It seems that we are given more authority than we use or realize we have? Authority to receive abundance, do you also believe with a blessing we have authority to BE and express our fullness? I guess I am asking how far you see our authority as extending?

    February 18, 2015 at 10:07 am

    • Hi Diane, I really think you’re on to something here. My understanding of the concept of authority when it comes to God, has changed greatly though. Considering the ancient scriptural words for will (we think authority), whether in Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek, really mean desire, delight, pleasure, deepest purpose, we get a completely different take on God’s authority. If blessings give permission or authority to partake, then authority moves into a different space. Yes, I absolutely believe that God’s blessings give us the authority to be and express everything that’s possible in the human spectrum as we live our lives between heaven and earth. But beyond authority as we understand it, God’s blessings are the expression of his deepest desires, delight, pleasure, and purpose for us to do exactly the same…express our deepest desires, delights, pleasures, and purpose as humans living in his estate. When our deepest desires and purpose are the same as God’s, when we delight in the same things as he, we’ve fully realized his blessing. As you suggest, we need to move beyond merely physical fullness to emotional, psychological, and spiritual fullness as well to get the notion of how far God’s blessings go. I’d love to hear more on your authoritative thoughts…

      February 27, 2015 at 7:46 am

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