of Creighton University's Online Ministries
June 20th, 2011
SPAHP/School of Pharmacy
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The word for “blessing” occurs 88 times in the book of Genesis alone. In the Old Testament world, the blessing of God is recognized by abundant goodness in all areas of life… many descendants, fertile fields and plentiful crops, large flocks and rich grazing land, prosperity and peace. Blessings (and curses) were not hopeful wishes for the future, but a potent force that created real change in people’s lives. Blessings were given and received in the context of a relationship, and curses signified a rupture in that relationship.
The significant event that is recalled in today’s first reading is not God’s promise to Abram of a prosperous and fruitful future, but rather Abram’s response. Abram leaves his homeland with his family and possessions; during his journey, twice he builds an altar - a sign of his commitment, entering more deeply into a personal relationship and new covenant with the Lord. I wonder how he was able to do these things… because he was anticipating the “reward” that God had promised? Because God is the Lord, and that is what God asked of him? Something else?
No, there is no promise or goodness in these disastrous floods, nor the fires and tornados that are leaving paths of destruction. Some folks will say “yes, but there will be a blessing down the road” or “we can pray that some good comes from this”. As my husband and I decide whether to pack up our belongings and move to higher ground or pray the levees hold, I would suggest NOW is the moment to experience the blessing… how is God inviting me to greater intimacy in this situation? It might be acknowledging vulnerability and having to request or receive assistance of others. It might be seeing signs of God’s reign in the midst of disaster. It might be surrendering ourselves and our loved ones into God’s care, no matter what the future holds. Do I desire greater intimacy with God or greater intimacy with worry? The choice is mine.
Can I tolerate the open, empty space in my mind and heart and body to allow the mystery of divine life to penetrate me … to experience the timeless, boundless ….. ocean of God’s presence and love and peace. It is this experience that gives me hope that no matter what happens, I can pray with Julian of Norwich, “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well”.
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