January 22, 2023

Dearly Beloved,
I am writing this before I leave for Guatemala; by the time that you receive it, I will be on my way home (boy, time does fly). Hopefully, you have had a chance to see the pictures of this experience on Facebook – if not, we’ll have a chance to talk more about it soon.

This Sunday, we hear the very familiar words of the Beatitudes. They are words of blessings from Jesus upon those who are meek, peacemakers, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. We end our time of worship with the benediction which is another word for blessing. We seek God’s blessing upon us as we embark on a new week. I need that blessing to help guide, strengthen and reassure me of God’s presence in my midst.

The benediction that I use is based on Aaron’s blessing (Numbers 6:23-27) upon the people of Israel during their time in the wilderness. It was adapted by my dad, Pastor Lee Dyer, a Lutheran pastor, which I adopted and adapted as my own:

May the Lord bless you and keep you

May the Lord’s face shine upon you and be good to you

May the Lord fill you with peace, love and much laughter

And may He set you free to celebrate the life that God has given you in all its fullness!

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

In 2018, Lutheran Pastor, author and speaker, Nadia Bolz-Weber wrote an updated version of the Beatitudes, beginning with the words, “Maybe the Sermon on the Mount is all about Jesus’ lavish blessing of the people around him on that hillside who his world—like ours—didn’t seem to have much time for: people in pain, people who work for peace instead of profit, people who exercise mercy instead of vengeance.”
These blessings include ones like:

Blessed are they who don’t have the luxury of taking things for granted anymore….

Blessed are they who doubt. Those who aren’t sure, who can still be surprised….

Blessed are the wrongly accused, the ones who never catch a break, the ones for
whom life is hard, for Jesus chose to surround himself with people like them..

Blessed are foster kids and special-ed kids and every other kid who just wants to feel
safe and loved…

(you can read her full text hear – about half way down the page: https://thecorners.substack.com/p/blessed-are-the-agnostics

What might you add to these blessings?
Who in our world today needs a sign of God’s blessing in their lives?

May you not only know the blessing of Christ’s grace but share that same blessing with others!

Peace & Blessings in Christ,
Pastor Jen