Given: The Forgotten . . . Practice of Blessing

Given (NavPress, 2019)

Tina Boesch, author of Given: The Forgotten meaning and Practice of Blessing, works as a writer, editor, and designer.  In addition, Tina serves as an advocate for Baptist Global Response and earned an MA in Theology from Regent College.  First, Tina stresses the need to recognize the generative power of the spoken word to appreciate the power of blessing.  Hence, blessing infuses newness into our spirits.  Also, blessing helps us envision a path forward with God, which we walk in faith.  And, since blessing involves communion, Tina observes, it’s infinitely relational.  God calls us to find our identity in  Him – a call to follow without disclosure of a destination.  This call to let go represents a threshold that, the author states, lead into the exhilarating freedom to follow.

Next, Tina notes, blessing carries three implications: provision, protection, and presence.  Of the three, presence functions as the wellspring from which other blessings flow.  Furthermore, blessing begins with agape seeing, a way of seeing grounded in love and sacrifice.  This vision grows out of a relationship with God – nurtured by prayer, worship, struggle, and trust.   Thus, when God blesses us, we bear His name.  That means we become mirrors of the shine.  And God desires that all people see and experience His shine.  Most noteworthy, people most often perceive God’s shine in practical acts of mercy.  However, curse stands as the polar opposite to blessing.  Curse involves an offensive gesture from a defensive position.  While curse is reactive, blessing’s proactive.

Rather than curse, through lament God encourages us to turn toward Him and pour out our hearts.  For in the midst of sorrow, the healing presence of the Lord delivers a profound blessing.  But, your must first learn to receive blessing before blessing can be given.  Day in and day out, God’s sustaining grace provides for all of His creatures.  When Jesus ascended into heaven, His parting blessing carried His followers out into the world with a mission.  A mission fueled by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit.  Finally, blessing is one way Christians reflect Jesus’ character and embody His presence.  This all takes place in an alternative arena Jesus constructs for His followers – the arena of grace.

In conclusion, Tina emphasizes, the entire orientation of self – thought, word, deed, and prayer – must focus on the good of others.  Including our enemies.  Consequently, strong love overcomes evil, not weak love.  As a result, strong love looks hatred in the eye, refusing to stoop to hatred’s level.  The cross strips away any sentimentality still clinging to the concept of blessing.  Because blessing is most fully expressed in the sacrificial giving of self.  Tina closes with these words of strength and comfort, given to you:

“And right here I find the heart of blessing.  This is where I’ll put down roots.  This is where I’ll find my dwelling place; in God’s presence.  And I realize that in this life I was never called to arrive.  I’m called to become.”

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Dave Henning

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