El Segundo United Methodist Church

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"Come to the Water"
Pastor Lee's Sermon Podcasts

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Dear Friends,

Bless you!  Three Sundays ago, I invited our congregation to bless three people that week (including one who didn’t deserve it), and what a joy it was to hear your stories the following week!  Mark Heaney then picked up the theme of blessing and invited, first, the people who attended the monthly Table of Faith dinner, and then the members of Church Council, to read blessings from the Bible to each other—and that, too, was a joyful experience.

I love the idea of blessing others, but I have also heard that folks aren’t quite sure just how to do that.  What does it mean to bless someone?

I looked up “bless” on my handy computer dictionary, and the first definition that I read was: “to pronounce words in a religious rite, to confer or invoke divine favor upon; to ask God to look favorably on.”  That makes it sound as though only someone ordained can give a blessing.  Personally, I think that’s nonsense.  While blessing people (and animals!) is part of my ministry, God gives any and all of us the ability to bless others.  Likewise, the blessings that I offer don’t come from me; they come from God through me.  It’s the same for anyone, including you. 

A blessing is a kind of prayer, and indeed, we bless one another when we pray for each other.  However, that doesn’t mean that you have to come up with some words when you feel moved to bless someone!  Remember the Beatitudes in Matthew 5?  All of them start out “Blessed are you . . . ,” but then they describe many different ways in which we are blessed and can bless, including being merciful, making peace and hungering and thirsting for —that is, acting to bring about—righteousness. 

It seems to me that to bless someone is to see him or her through the eyes of a loving God and to act accordingly.  That might mean offering words of encouragement.  It might mean offering a smile and expressing gratitude.  It might mean offering a hand to help, or a shoulder to learn on.  It might mean playing with a child.  It might mean sending someone a note or a card.  And, yes, blessing another person might mean saying a prayer.  The point is that there is no “right” way to bless another, and there are no limits to the number of ways by which we offer God’s blessing to others. 

All of us have been blessed by God; let’s pass on that blessing to others, in the name of Jesus Christ.  I encourage all of us to continue to practice blessing others and to celebrate the ways that God is blessing others through us by our stories with one another!  Let’s make 2018 the “Year of Blessing.” 

Right now, most people know our church as the “big, white church on the corner of Main and Mariposa.”  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people in our community identified us in another way:  “El Segundo United Methodist Church?  Oh, that’s the church that blesses!”

                                                                              Feeling blessed by you,

                                                                              Pastor Lee

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