the parable of the loose undertray

A brief bloggage today in the midst of busy-ness.

ScrewdriverI had booked my car into the garage recently because there was a ‘knocking’ that seemed to be coming from the suspension. The mechanic had a good look at it and couldn’t find a problem with the suspension. But he did find a couple of loose clips on the under-tray beneath the car which he resecured. After he had done so we went for a test drive and the ‘knocking’ had gone.

If only all problems were as easily solved when we take our cars into the garage!

If only all our problems were as easily solved.

I wonder whether sometimes we feel that we are worse than we actually are. Churches have been very good at pointing out human failure and our propensity to make a mess of things, and even in encouraging us to follow Jesus more closely we can receive the message that we are not doing well. And we can take on all manner of guilt from this. How many of these resonate with you?

I don’t pray long enough.

I don’t read my Bible frequently enough.

I get angry.

I often say the wrong thing.

I think unkind thoughts about people.

I feel such a failure.

In concentrating on the ‘knocking’ in my car I failed to recognise so many positive things about it – it is comfortable, reliable, big enough…

When God looks at us do you think he notices the failure first or do you think he looks at all of the good things? Doesn’t he first of all see the kind words, the thoughtful act, the loving smile, the generous gift and so much more? I think he does and I think it brings a smile to his face (anthropomorphising for a while).

There may be some loose clips that need tightening or some areas that need attention, and God is in the business of helping us deal with them and making a fresh start, but in thinking about the negatives don’t lose sight of all the positives that give God pleasure as he watches you.

Be blessed, be a blessing

bless you!

invitation healthOn Sunday evening our church is hosting a service of gratitude and blessing for the health and caring services of our town. I posted a poster on this site last week, and also is here.

This morning I have been working on this service and in case you are considering coming let me say that it is for everyone, not just those who work in the health and caring services. (The poster is aimed at those who work in those services and who are not normally part of a church.)

Regular bloggists will know that I am rather keen on blessing in the name of Jesus. My ‘sign off’ for almost all bloggages is ‘be blessed, be a blessing’ (see earlier in the week for a bloggage about ‘signing off’ – it’s seamless isn’t it! You would almost think it was planned if you didn’t know me!)

Blessing is a wonderful positive word, but it is also a bit slippery (reference to my recent bloggage about slippery words!). What exactly do we mean when we speak about ‘blessing’? We say ‘bless you’* when someone sneezes (ancient tradition). Whether or not someone says ‘bless you’ when you sneeze is almost a test of politeness now, but we don’t normally mean ‘bless you’ we mean: “I noticed that you sneezed!”

Blessing is about wanting positive, good, kind, gracious things for someone else. In a Christian context it is particularly about wanting people to experience God’s positive, good, kind and gracious presence and favour in their life.

The oldest prayer of blessing in the Bible is:

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on your and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face towards you and give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26)

That’s a wonderful prayer and is part of what I have in mind when I say ‘bless you’ to someone. But I read somewhere (sorry I can’t source it) that you could paraphrase ‘the Lord make his face shine on you’ as ‘may you experience God’s smile’. I like that. It’s simple and yet profound.

Be blessed, be a blessing.

*I like the French version: ‘à te souhait’, which sounds like a sneeze to me when said quickly!