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04 Lent 04 Fourth Wednesday in Lent

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Blessed are the poor in spirit.  Blessed are those who mourn.  Blessed are the meek.  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.  It would seem that these verses are talking about blessing in a way that is foreign to our world.  It seems that these verses are talking about blessing as something that is uncomfortable and challenging for us. 

Not blessed are the poor in spirit, but blessed are the rich in cash.  Not blessed are those who mourn.  But blessed are the ones who pursue happiness.  Not blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.  But blessed are those who do not hunger and thirst for anything all.  What in the world is Jesus saying here?  What is he getting at?  The world’s way seems to make sense after all, and what is wrong with praying that we would have everything that we need.  I mean come on, isn’t our theme for the evening, “give us this day our daily bread.”

And that is the point of this whole thing.  Because when we pray, “give us this day our daily bread.”  We are not asking that God would give us these things, because he gives them even without our asking.  He gives them whether we are good or evil, not because we earn them, but because he is so good and gracious and merciful.  Instead when we pray, “give us this day our daily bread.”  We are asking that God would allow us to thankfully receive all that he has given to us. 

This is why the poor in spirit, the ones who mourn, the ones who hunger and thirst for righteousness are considered blessed, not because of their need, but because their position is one that has an awareness of their need for God.  God gives to us his kingdom, his comfort, his righteousness.  God gives us not just bread, but all of our food and drink.  Everything that we need to support our bodies and lives.  He gives us forgiveness, life, salvation and a relationship with him.  Knowing this and living in this, well that is blessed.

What are you hungering for in your life this evening?  Is it love?  Is it forgiveness?  Is it acceptance?  Is it knowing that you have value and worth?  What are your thirsting for?  Is it purpose?  Is it security?  Is it hope?  What are you longing for?

Well, blessed are you, for in  your hunger, thirst and longing, our God invites you to draw near to him and allow him to fill you.  Love, God loved you so much that he sent his only begotten son.  Forgiveness, well that is freely given through Jesus.  Acceptance, before the creation of the world, God chose you to be his own dear son or daughter.  Value and worth, Jesus came down for heaven, to live the perfect life, suffer on the cross, and rise from the dead, all for you.  Purpose is found in loving people and caring for them as God loves and cares for them, and in sharing with them the good news of Jesus.  Security comes from our God who is our mighty fortress, Hop is there because Jesus was raised from the dead.  Blessed are you as you find fulfillment in these things.  And receive them thankfully, for that is the prayer of tonight.

You were given a packet with some goldfish crackers.  The fish is an ancient symbol for the Christian.  They are salty.  Jesus said to his followers, “you are the salt of the earth.” Paul writes, Let you speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt. And finally, most obvious of all, they are bread.  So receive them thankfully.  Don’t just throw them in your mouth, but hold them in your hand for a moment.  Thank God for giving to you all that you need to support your body and life.  As you eat them, savor the taste, and ask that grace would season all you do.  And finally pray.  Give us this day, our daily bread.  Amen.

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