Blessed to be a blessing.

sermon on Feb. 17th, 2019.

Blessed to be a blessing.

Take a moment to think about the last time you were happy? The last time when you truly felt blessed. The last time you felt truly comforted in your misery or your pain. Dwell in that moment of happiness, comfort, and blessing.

Then take a moment to think about the last time, when you truly made someone else happy and was a blessing in someone’s cursed time, or the last time you truly comforted someone in their deep pain and despair. Dwell in that moment of compassion and consolation.

I was watching the Grammy’s Award Show last Sunday evening and during this show two of the biggest music Icons were honored: Dolly Parton and Diana Ross. These two female artists are both in their senior years now, but still going and singing somewhat strong. Despite all the obvious plastic surgeries and Botox aid that made these ladies look as lovely as they did 50 years ago, - I was struck by the words of my favorite Diana Ross song. It always touches me. In its simplicity and its naivety. And when I prepared this sermon and once again read the beautiful Beatitudes from St. Luke – I was touched by the words of the song:

“Reach out and touch

Somebody's hand

Make this world a better place

If you can

…. Take a little time out of your busy day; To give encouragement;

To someone who's lost the way

…. Or would I be talking to a stone

If I asked you to share a problem

 that's not your own.

We can change things if we start giving

Why don't you

Reach out and touch

Somebody's hand

Make this world a better place

If you can

…. If you see an old friend on the street and he's down; Remember his shoes could fit your feet

Try a little kindness you'll see

It's something that comes very naturally

We can change things if we start giving

Why don't you

Reach out and touch somebody's hand

Make this world a better place

If you can”


When Jesus was surrounded by many people, who wanted to get close to him, listen to him and feel his presence, - he looked at the people and he saw. He saw how the struggles of humanity was embodied in the many different people around him:

·      there were poor people, poor in procession and power, but even more poor in spirit;

·       there were hungry people, starving for daily bread, daily comfort and hope;

·      there were weeping grieving people, who mourned their loss and cried out their pain, but also longed for a hope and a faith transcending this life and this pain;

·       there were the people who felt like outcast and outsiders, who were not welcome or well seen, and who longed to be welcomed, seen and loved.

They were the ones Jesus looked at first with his compassionate eyes and he blessed them all – he blessed all the ones who felt far from blessed. He blessed all those who felt their lives were cursed and miserable. All those who had no hope but only tears of loss and hunger for love. Jesus blessed them, he saw them; and Jesus comforted them with words and promises of fulfillment, comfort, laughter and joy. Jesus was literally reaching out to those who most often was turned away, silenced or neglected. He saw people.

 And then Jesus looked beyond those, and saw the rich, the fulfilled, the laughing and blessed –

·      those who kept their blessings to them self,

·       those who did keep their bread on their table,

·      those who closed their gates

·      and those who laughed in the face of the misery of others. 

·      Jesus looked and saw those who did not care, who did feel better, who did find their happiness in personal procession, personal safety, personal joy and personal fulfillment.

·       Those who did not know how to be a blessing in the world – those who should know better.


“Reach out and touch somebody’s hand, make this world a better place if you can…” This is not simple naïve pop song; this is a reflection on the beautiful beatitudes of Christ and Christianity.

As Americans and as Danish Immigrants we often count as part of our heritage the blessings of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But what is happiness? Is happiness something that can be obtained by pursuing it? It is just a mere product of circumstances or surroundings and coincidence? Or does happiness depend on something else, something entirely different, something deeper and more profound? What makes us happy – truly happy? Recall the moments at the beginning of the sermon: the moment when you felt truly blessed and the moment when you felt like a blessing to somebody else? Is that where we find true happiness and meaning and purpose? It that where we find Jesus? Is that where Jesus is pointing at?


As we conclude each and every service, Sunday after Sunday, month after month, year after year, we expect to listen to the beautiful old words of the Blessing: The beloved blessing  from the Old Testament is even older than the Beatitudes of Jesus, - and the words was found engraved on a beautiful silver coin/jewelry from 700 years before Christ in a tomb outside Jerusalem.

The blessing is old, but still strong. It is not uplifted by botox or plastic surgery

It is strong and personal. God looks at me and you, God let his face shine upon our faces and sent us into the world with this blessing marked on our hearts. The words of the old blessings embrace our lives as Christians from the joyous baptism, to confirmation, to communion, to Sunday services, to weddings and to the final memorial.

When the words of the God’s blessing are projected through the pastor or are shining from the pastor, it is a prayer and a statement that this man and this woman or this child is seen as a Child of God. Is seen, blessed and loved.

As we receive the blessing, as we let the words shower us with promise, comfort and strength, we do receive the blessing to be seen, loved and blessed. And in this blessing, we must be a blessing to others.

God has blessed you.  Count your blessings.  But don’t stop there.  You are blessed to be a blessing.  God’s intention is that all the nations of the earth should be blessed by the actions of God’s people.  God is working the salvation of the world through us.  It’s our job.  The Jews were not chosen by God for special privilege, but for special service.  It is the same for Christians and for anybody else who receives God’s blessing.  Don’t hoard it…spread it.  Don’t pay it back, pay it forward.  For every material blessing you have received, for the gift of talent or health or land or a kind and loving spirit…whatever it is, you were given that blessing in order that you might use it to bless others.