Do you remember God’s first recorded words to humankind? After their creation, Gen 1:28 records, “God blessed them and said to them….”
God’s first communication to His beloved was a blessing. Remember that.
Luke 24:36-53 remains one of my favorite accounts of Jesus. I try to put myself in the scene as two disciples, having just walked and talked with the crucified and resurrected Jesus on the road to Emmaus, now return from this transforming walk—hearts still burning within. They hurry to their friends, exuberant to let them know that Jesus is indeed, quite alive. During this conversation, Jesus slips in to join the crew in an almost comical conversation. I envision the disciples’ mouths open but speechless…looking at each other thinking what’s happening here? Jesus remains reassuring, vulnerable, and real…Guys…what do I have to do to show you it’s me? Go ahead…touch me…put your hands on my pierced hands and feet…and by the way, what’s in the fridge? It’s been a while since I’ve eaten. I’m really hungry.
The disciples, still flabbergasted, broil a fish and hand it to Jesus who, over said-broiled- fish recounts the entire God-story that Luke manages to record in four impactful verses. Tears fill my eyes as I envision the food and friendship-fed Jesus walking with His friends toward memory-filled Bethany. I can see the love in his eyes and hear the kindness in his voice as He turns to His friends, lifts His hands, looks into their eyes, and blesses them. While He is still blessing them, He ascends, returning home. The disciples’ mouths are again open but speechless. What is happening?
From the beginning to the end…God blesses.
So what were His last words?
His last words were a blessing.
We live in a blessing sandwich. Blessed from beginning to end.
Today is my 68th birthday, and on my birthdays, I take time to recount the contents of my life’s sandwich, held together from beginning to end with God’s blessings. God’s heart to bless feels profound, comforting, and strengthening because the pain of the fallen world also falls between and among the blessings. Ingredients of our “blessing sandwiches” include the joys of sharing broiled fish and friendship as well as touching each other’s scars and brokenness.
Even though my heart overflows with gratitude for God’s lovingkindness, I still wish I could celebrate the day with Wyndham. I feel deep pain for some dear friends who grieve. I feel the loss of my beloved Aunt Emma yesterday. (We spent our very first Christmas with her, and she showed us love again and again.) I wish I could have spent my birthday morning as planned with Kristen, but a rough case of Covid altered all her plans. I daily remember friends in Kyiv, whose homes I have been blessed to share while I was there, and who currently experience profound loss and trauma.
I can be tempted to put down my blessing sandwich amid such pain and even wonder if I should taste the blessings. It’s a strange contrast of emotions, but I know blessing is God’s intent even through pain. His only desire is our good and He offers blessing upon blessing. Even though sin and the world try to spoil the sandwich, I must continue to taste my blessing sandwich and pack extras to share. God has blessed me more than I could dare ask or imagine. The beauty of His creation, His precious promises, and His sacrifice are always before me as are my family and friendships, including you…blessing upon blessing.
In a few moments, I will put away my computer, get in the car and drive to Boston to witness a great miracle as my third grandchild confesses Jesus as Lord and is baptized. I could wish for no greater birthday gift. I live in a blessing sandwich, which God has prepared for each of us. Join me in sharing a piled-so-high-can’t-get-your-mouth-around-it blessing sandwich.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. (Eph 1:3)