Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany
Jeremiah 17: 5-10, Psalm 1, 1 Corinthians 15: 12-20, Luke 6:17-26
Blessing is the common imagery, which has been manipulated in these days to become synonymous with living long a life, with wealth, popularity, power and all other things which money can buy. At this juncture the question which we need to ponder is, what is a true blessing? The true blessing does not reside in the worldly things but it comes with trust and faith in God. That is, to search for God in our lives, to love others, and to identify yourselves among the poor, and needy and in the midst of those who are suffering. True blessedness comes from (1) faith in God, (2) love towards others, (3) honesty with ourselves, and (4) obedience towards God.
And another one is Obedience. An obedient life leads to a new assurance and new promises from God. During the time of obedience, you will face many tests and trials, and that’s how your faith grows. But the same Lord who, brought you in and out throughout the pilgrim journey will also bring you through, if we follow him by faith. Abraham with his obedience, trust and love towards God lived the life of covenant blessing. He became a peacemaker not a trouble maker. Abraham even built an altar wherever he stayed. God also tested Abraham’s faith, hope, trust and love. God gave Isaac as a blessing to Abraham in his old age, only to ask for Isaac back. Isaac was their only promised son, miracle child and gift of God, in response to their faith and obedience. He was obedient even to the point of sacrificing his only son, born to him at the age of 99. We must be careful that the gifts we have received from God should not take the place of God.
Abraham revered God and put Him first, and considered it as a blessing to his family and to all nations. We also should place God first in every aspect of our life. He walked by faith, was saved by faith and lived by faith and his obedience was evident by his faithfulness (James 2:23). It makes our life as blessing.
When Abraham restored the life of people and King of Sodom, the king offered him all the best things in Sodom, which could make him the richest person. But Abraham said that he doesn’t want to become rich in worldly things, but in God’s blessings (Gen 14:23). He refused to keep material possessions in the presence of man, but gave openly in tithe to the priest Melchizedek. He was honest and it made him to receive the true blessings from God.
Abraham lived for others. When God asked them to choose, Abraham gave the first choice to Lot. Lot had chosen the worldly possessions but Abraham looked unto God. Though three strangers came to his place, he welcomed them. Abraham service was marked with humility and hospitality; he bowed to the strangers, invited them, provided food for them and called himself a servant. For that he and his wife received tremendous blessings. The impossible became possible with his humility and attitude of service. We, too, should not live for ourselves alone, but also live with the people and for the people. Living with the people can be summarized as living in their pain, struggles, and in their vulnerabilities. It’s more of a process of Empathy than Sympathy. Sharing their pain and showing empathy towards them is a real blessing in our lives. Jesus also had proclaimed that the true blessing is not a change in the circumstances but a change in their relationship with God. The attitude of Suffering for others and being helpful to others is a true blessing (James 2:15-17). But we must remember that no amount of things can be a substitute for a relationship with God. Jeremiah makes this clear that, “Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord” (Jeremiah 17:7).
Because Abraham had followed all these three aspects of faith, his life was filled with blessings, he was called a friend of God and God also shared things with Abraham. All these happened with the trust he had in God. When we place our trust in God, show obedience and serves others, then we will also promote the God’s truth.
-Rev. Pushpalalitha Yeggoni, Church of South India
Our Gracious God, the source of all blessings, accept us as we submit ourselves with broken spirits and hearts. Help us to live united and committed to be the agents of forgiveness, trust, obedience and faith. Help us retain and sustain your providential spirituality instilled in our hearts to confront the world of deterioration. Help us overcome difficult situations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Transform us to mend our ways that we may incisively surge ahead to reclaim the vision and mission of the Church so that our life will be the channel of blessing for many. Refine, reform and renew us to be the true stewards and servants in your vineyard. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.