For Ash Wednesday…
…a Franciscan blessing I hope everyone will appreciate:
May God bless you with discomfort. Discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart. Amen.
May God bless you with anger. Anger at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace. Amen.
May God bless you with tears. Tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and turn their pain into joy. Amen.
May God bless you with foolishness. Enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done. Amen.
And the blessing of God, who creates, redeems and sanctifies, be upon you and all you love and pray for this day, and forever more. Amen.
The work of World Vision inspires lots of people to be the blessings to others these Franciscan benedictions envision. Seven youth and three adults from our congregation, Saint Matthew Lutheran Church, participated in World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine on February 25-26.
They gave up food for thirty hours, raised money for world hunger relief, learned about the causes of hunger and what can be done about it, and shared some of their experiences with the congregation during worship on February 27. The youth set a modest goal of raising $150 through the famine and ended up raising $2055.
Our congregation’s young people have taught me that we are blessed in order to be blessings to others, a lesson I think anyone–wherever they are spiritually or politically–can embrace.
Please do what you can for the poor, not just during Lent, but all through the year.
For Christians, Jesus makes it clear that when we serve others, we serve Him.
But setting aside both spiritual and practical reasons for helping others, I promise that it will just make you feel good!
[This was crossposted on my personal blog.]