Bless the Lord??? How? Why?
Hosea 2:14-23; Ps. 103:1-6; 2 Cor. 3:4-11 & 17-4:2; Mk. 2:18-22
EIGHTH SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY
February 27, 2000
Christians -- and particularly Episcopalians use lots of confusing words! Think about it .. how often do you use the word: "r - i - t - e" in your normal, every day conversations? If you tried to you would confuse everyone involved!
Or what about "eucharistic"? Another confusing word. No wonder so many of our friends simply call it "the Lord's Supper" ... by the way, "eucharistic" comes from the Greek for "thanksgiving" and hence we call the prayer, the Great Thanksgiving.
Other confusing words within the broad Christian community would include "righteousness", "salvation", "forgiveness" ... don't think "forgiveness" is a confusing word? I do! Most of the time when it really matters I don't really know what it means.
All those important words. But my choice for the most confusing word is one of the simplest words ... "bless". ... Every pondered that word and the multiple ways we use it? The easiest usage to understand is when we say that God "blessed" us or "blesses" us. We understand that as meaning that God gave us some special gift.
About an hour ago, at St. Christopher's I officiated at a wedding. We call that the "Celebration and Blessing of a marriage". I love the title because it makes it clear that a marriage is a relationship and a relationship does not begin at the wedding! This relationship is a long term activity during which the wedding is only one event ... a very important event ... an essential event .. but still only one of many. So we celebrate that relationship. But what does it mean to "bless" that relationship?
This is one of the concepts, customs, traditions, understandings --- whatever word you want to use -- which separates various groups of Christians. Some people think it is at best, wrong to stand there and "bless" someone or something. That ...
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