Thursday, 17 December 2009

Original blessing - an Advent promise

We met to pray, rejoice celebrate and lament together last night for an advent service on the theme of original blessing. Children painted stars on bands of papers with the word blessing in many languages. Terry Macarthur led out singing and music in wonderful ways and Theo Gill preached a funny and profound sermon.
The new CEC central committee joined us as they are meeting in Geneva at the moment and had just elected their new president, Metropolitan Emmanuel of France.
Here's an extract from Theo's sermon:

This blessing comes before that first infraction, that earliest act of disobedience, that willing submission to the serpent’s wiles. From the beginning, God’s will has been for our well-being; the operative verb in God’s intent for us is not “to judge”, nor “to punish” nor even “to predestine”, but “to bless” – to bless with the gift of light, even in a land of deep darkness – especially in a land of deep darkness – to bless with the gifts of life and grace and truth.

The Hebrew word for “bless” is barak.

(Where I come from, the president is called “Barack”. His name originates from that same Semitic root, making its way through Kenya to Hawaii, and then by way of
Indonesia, Columbia University, Harvard Law School and Chicago into the White House.
Barack… A word of blessing from the White House! And phrased in Arabic! So far, it is more a sign of hope than attainment – rather like the Nobel Prize… or the angelic vision of Peace on earth.)