“Blessed… Blessed… Blessed… Blessed… Blessed… Blessed… Blessed… Blessed… Blessed…” taught Jesus.
This is Jesus’ first teaching in the Gospel of Matthew. Notice where Jesus starts. Here in the beginning, Jesus proclaims nine blessings.
Jesus’ first teaching echoes some of God’s first words on the first pages of the Bible in Genesis, “And God saw that it was good.” Six times God sees the goodness of creation in progress. Finally, just before God rested, “God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good.”
You might say the Christian faith starts with seven times goodness and nine times blessing. But where do Christians so often start? Sin, shame, exclusion, death. These are not to be denied, but neither are they to be promoted ahead of what is truly first: goodness and blessing, inclusion and life.
In fact, in this very first teaching, Jesus includes sin, shame, exclusion, and death, embracing people experiencing them in blessing!
Before this first teaching, Jesus proclaimed, “Change your life, because the kingdom of heaven has come near.” What might change about your approach to life, faith, God, and other people as you put these Nine Blessings ahead of, say, the Ten Commandments? What light do these blessings shed on your life--where you’ve come from and where you’re going?
Ask Jesus to lead you back to the beginning.
To dive deeper into this theme of “Original Blessing” (over “Original Sin”) consider joining one of The Universal Christ practice groups starting Wed, Feb 5. For more info and to sign up, visit saintpaulclinton.org/smallgroups or call the church office.
Saint Paul Lutheran Church
715 South Third Street
Clinton, IA 52732
(at the foot of the south bridge)