Have you ever noticed that the recurring theme Jesus uses to portray Kingdom culture is a party?
From turning water into wine at a wedding, to celebrating lost coins, lost sheep, and lost sons, to an invitation to the ultimate party of all: a wedding feast for the King’s own son – Jesus consistently portrays the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven as the biggest shindig ever to hit town.
Jesus is constantly portraying the Divine as a forgiving father, an over-paying employer, or an extravagant host, so why do we insist on seeing him as a harsh master who’s return is more a pending doom than a reason to celebrate?
We are like the wicked and lazy servant in Matthew 25:14-30 who, fearing his master as a harsh man reaping where he has not sown, buried the talent his master gave him so he wouldn’t lose it. The tragedy is not that he didn’t make a profit with the money, but that he misunderstood the heart of the master so completely.
If the master simply wanted profits, he could have invested his money with the bankers himself, but instead, he takes a risk with his servants and invites them into his own abundance and joy (see verses 21 and 23). This guy is literally inviting his slaves to be property owners with him!
That’s abundance. That’s blessing, but this wicked servant misses it completely because he has a false understanding of who his master really is. His fear stopped the flow of the master’s abundance and cut him off from partaking of the Divine.
When we misunderstand the heart of the Divine toward us, he can easily become a bloodthirsty god of justice, held in check by his own son who was murderously butchered as a legal maneuver to save us from his wrath. All of which is held tenuously together by our feeble ability to believe and obey. Sadly, Resurrection Sunday quickly becomes a warning for us to get our lives in order before it’s too late rather than a triumphal shout of joy at the rich blessing being poured out on us.
This isn’t how God sees us, it’s how the Accuser sees us and wants us to see ourselves, but the person and character of Jesus is our hope for the person and character of the Divine. Jesus does not hide the Father to protect us, he shows us the Father to bless us!
In Life of the Beloved, Henri Nouwen writes, “A blessing touches the original goodness of a person and calls forth his or her Belovedness,” and, “To give a blessing creates the reality of which it speaks.”
To give a blessing, or a benediction, means to “speak well”. God speaks well of you and “it is the deepest affirmation of your true self,” as Nouwen writes.
God speaks well of you and it is the deepest affirmation of your true self.
We are being invited to walk in the abundance of this blessing, and to share that abundance with one another in love. Our blessing fills us up that we might overflow into each other’s lives.
The Son is risen today. Let us walk in its light.
Thank you for being on this journey with me! Next week we’ll look at how Henri suggests we can use Prayer and Presence to listen to the voice of blessing in our lives. Until then, I highly recommend Rob Bell’s podcast on the parable of the talents called, “You and Your Bags of Gold”. I love the questions he asks!
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Buen Camino, my friends.