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Jesus said, “I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. ~ Luke 24:49-51

This is the Gospel account of the ascension of Jesus, which is celebrated in Christian tradition late in the Easter season. I find meaning in this story in that Jesus’ blessing happens in the midst of his letting go of the very ones he loves – his friends who seek to know and honor God through their lives.

The truth is, Jesus blessed people from all walks of life. He blessed the sick, the young, the hungry, the forgotten, the stranger, the oppressed, and the vulnerable of this world.

Jesus blessed the earth and all it creatures by living into the fullness of the Creator God, the One who knows when even a tiny sparrow falls to the earth.

Jesus blessed the Samaritan, the Jew, and the Gentile. Jesus blessed male and female, young and old, poor and rich.

Isn’t it strange that the Christian faith has so often been used to draw lines between the ones who are “In” and the ones who are “Out?”

Isn’t it strange that Jesus’ life was all about showing people the way to God, and yet so many people use Jesus as an excuse to tell others where they are going wrong?

Jesus blessed “the least of these,” our sisters and brothers. He didn’t ask qualifying questions first, like, what church do you attend, or what are your political views, or do you abide by all the commandments. He didn’t ask about income, education, marital status, or sexuality.

Jesus spread God’s blessing around like there was no tomorrow! He brought healing to broken bodies. He offered forgiveness to dispirited people. He fed the hungry, prayed for the sick and dying, and demonstrated through his very life that God loves us and wants to create God’s Realm within us and through us!

Wouldn’t it be great if people of all faiths embraced the universality of God’s blessing?

Wouldn’t it be great if we understood that God’s blessing is not restricted to any one spiritual path or religion, and that God is God and we are not?

Wouldn’t it be great if our first thought each morning was to imagine where God was calling us to be a blessing through our words and deeds that day?

Then we would see the beginnings of the peaceful Reigning of God on earth!

Words (c) 2012 Mark Lloyd Richardson

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