When blessing is reduced to a phrase

By Dave Henning / July 21, 2019

“When a blessing is reduced to a phrase we say out of habit, then it’s drained of its significance.  A blessing should be a sincere prayer that rises from our souls.”- Tina Boesch

As Tina Boesch continues Chapter 1 of Given, she observes that the secular nature of Western culture strips our culture of the language of blessing.  In addition, any remnants of blessing that remain express themselves as meaningless clichés.  Like saying “Bless you” after a sneeze.

Furthermore, Tina asserts, a lot of mixed messages about blessings exist.  For example, the author notes, some people:

  • seem to see blessings as material – the message of a prosperity gospel  that encourages people to cash it in with God
  • spiritualize blessings to the point it loses any real implication for living in the world; a vague future hope

Therefore, to navigate the confusion around blessing requires a deep dive into God’s Word.  Yet, Tina stresses, by nature Scripture confronts as well as comforts.  And, we must understand the call to bless on a theoretical as well as practical level.  Hence, Tina explains and offers questions to ponder:

“Does the Bible offer any blessings that can be woven into daily life? . . .  Am I prepared to embrace the sharp edge of blessing — Jesus’ call to bless those who curse?  How to become a river, not a reservoir, of God’s blessing.  There’s so much distrust in our world these days, but blessings have a way of breaking through the unease because they give voice to the intentions of a heart that desires abundant life for others.”

In the next blog, the author talks about the origin of blessing.  Most noteworthy, the Hebrew root of the word ‘bless’ – barak – occurs eighty-eight times in Genesis, more than any other Old Testament book.

Today’s question: Do you find yourself reducing specific blessings to phrases you say out of habit?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: the annotated bibliography of The Next Right Thing

About the author

Dave Henning

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