Becoming a Blessing

Scripture Focus: Genesis 48.14, 17-20
14 But Israel reached out his right hand and put it on Ephraim’s head, though he was the younger, and crossing his arms, he put his left hand on Manasseh’s head, even though Manasseh was the firstborn…

17 When Joseph saw his father placing his right hand on Ephraim’s head he was displeased; so he took hold of his father’s hand to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. 18 Joseph said to him, “No, my father, this one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head.” 

19 But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. He too will become a people, and he too will become great. Nevertheless, his younger brother will be greater than he, and his descendants will become a group of nations.” 20 He blessed them that day…

Luke 1.46-47
46 My soul glorifies the Lord 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.

Reflection: Becoming a Blessing
By John Tillman

It took generations for the blessing God promised to grow and come to pass but we see glimpses of it in the process, such as the way, through Joseph, Egypt and the surrounding countries were blessed.

God’s blessing that he promised would come through Abram continued to grow more detailed and more defined as time went on. He changed his people as he went.

In Israel’s crossed arms, we see God subtly pushing to overturn unfair practices. Even though Israel sets Ephraim first, he provides an equivalent blessing to them both rather than a blessing similar to the one Jacob had stolen from Esau.

Eventually, a young girl descended from Judah would pronounce the fulfillment of and growth of the promise of blessing. The good news Mary proclaimed was also an overturning of blessings. The poor would be filled. The rich would go away empty. (In The Face of Wonder)

Today we will pray a prayer based on the blessing spoken to Abram, the blessing spoken over Ephraim and Manassah, and the blessing spoken by Mary to all people.

Becoming a Blessing
From Abram, you made a great nation
Through Abram, you promised to bless the nations
Make us, O Lord, a blessing in our nations

You blessed Jacob, renaming him Israel
Israel gave the blessing of being called by his name
To his children and his children’s children
Rename us, O Lord
Remake us, O Lord, worthy to be called by your name

May our pursuit of holiness increase in your name
May our ways of righteousness increase in your name
May our working of justice increase in your name

Through Mary, you helped your servant, Israel
You remembered to be merciful
You did great things for the small
Your powerful arm worked mightily for the weak
Your rich blessings poured out to satisfy the hungry
Yet, those who considered themselves full and rich went away empty

Our broken world seeks righteousness.
Bring it through us.
Our lost world seeks truth.
Speak it through us.
Our hurting world seeks justice.
Work it through us.
Our sickened world seeks healing.
Heal it through us.

May no king gain our fealty.
May no prince dominate our praise.
May our soul glorify only you, our Savior.
May our spirit rejoice only in the true and only God.

Make and remake us, Lord, into a blessing.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Call to Prayer
The Lord is King; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of the isles be glad. — Psalm 97.1

– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle

Today’s Readings
Genesis 48 (Listen – 3:43) 
Luke 1.39-80 (Listen – 5:16)

Read more about In The Face of Wonder
Your glory, Lord, overcoming and transforming our weaknesses is cause for our souls to sing.

Read more about Identity Lost, Identity Gained
God, our father, longs to bless us with every spiritual blessing. No one who comes to him will need cry, “Do you have only one blessing, my father?”

In The Face of Wonder :: A Guided Prayer

Luke 1.46-47
My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.

Reflection: In The Face of Wonder :: A Guided Prayer
By John Tillman

Before she delivered Jesus as a child, Mary delivered the gospel. 

Mary’s powerful confession, prayer, and prophecy, shows her familiarity with the scriptures and an intimate connection with God like the prophets of old. God’s Spirit breaks through into the world through the worship that is initiated by Elizabeth and Mary’s joyful reunion.

Pray this prayer repeatedly over the weekend, seeking God’s face and asking Him to break through into your world, asking him to speak the gospel through your worship and its resulting action.

Praying in Wonder, with Mary

“My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
    of the humble state of his servant.

Oh, God, when your wondrous work sweeps in to our world, we have no better way to respond than worship. 

From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
    holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
    from generation to generation.

Your glory, Lord, overcoming and transforming our weaknesses is cause for our souls to sing. 

He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
    he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
    but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
    but has sent the rich away empty.

Your power, Holy Spirit, working on behalf of the outcasts and the downtrodden is the beat that our boots must march to. 

He has helped his servant Israel,
    remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
    just as he promised our ancestors.”

Your call, Jesus, beckoning us to abandon our broken world for your righteousness, is a cry for freedom. 

The freedom the world seeks is freedom to dominate, dictate, and destroy. This freedom is a lie that seeks power and blessing for ourselves.

May we seek instead the freedom to serve, to create, and to restore. We can do this only in your power and through your Holy Spirit.

Jesus come to us. Jesus come through us to the world.

Amen.

Prayer: The Request for Presence
Our God will come and will not keep silence; before him there is a consuming flame, and round about him a raging storm. — Psalm 50.3

Today’s Readings
Genesis 48 (Listen – 3:43) 
Luke 1.1-39-80 (Listen – 9:26)

Today’s Readings
Genesis 49 (Listen – 4:54) , Luke 2 (Listen – 6:11)
Genesis 50 (Listen – 4:07) , Luke 3 (Listen – 5:24)

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