“Achoooooo!” Can I hear a “Bless You!” coming from you in sympathy? With all the wheezes and sneezes, coughs, and splutters of recent weeks I suspect the expression “Bless You!” has been used a lot.

‘Bless’ comes from the Latin ‘Bene’ – ‘Well / Good’. Benedictere, from which ‘benediction’ derives, is ‘to bless’ or to speak well of / over someone. So, when you say “Bless!” or “God Bless You!” you’re wishing someone ‘well’. When God made the world, the story goes that, at the end of each day God blessed all he made by declaring “That’s Good!” and, before  resting on the 7th day, after making us humans the pinnacle of his creativity, to look after wonderful planet earth, God announced “That’s very good!”

Alas, the opposite of ‘blessing’ is ‘curse’ and sadly many choose to turn their backs on the sunshine of God’s blessing, cursing and being cursed in the shade of selfishness and sin. But “God loves to bless and wants to draw us all out to experience and share His Blessing / Goodness / Wellness. When Jesus came up out of the waters of baptism Father God’s voice was heard, “This is my son in whom I delight, listen to him!” Jesus went on to swallow the curse of sin & death through his cruel death. He absorbed the evil toxins of hatred, envy, pride, prejudice and all the other curses humanity could dredge to throw at him, and returned from hell and death with the Blessing “My Peace be with you!”

I hope you can remember times recent, and long past, when people spoke well of and over you. The blessing and encouragement it can be, to have someone compliment you for something you said or did, and affirm you for ‘who’ you are, ‘beloved’! The blessing and lift it can be to have someone engage with and respond positively to a blog, #60SecondSermon or action, or for someone to turn up to see you perform or share. There is a blessing in knowing that someone you respect, and who cares for you, is watching with keen eyes of interest and appreciation.

‘Dignity’ (Band) Deacon Blue’s popular anthem is a good example of the blessing that comes from noticing and complimenting people (a bin man in this case) who often work, uncelebrated, behind the scenes. Let’s not be slow to compliment and show our appreciation to people who serve us quietly and hidden, not looking for attention or adulation, who will hopefully warm to our genuine good will, ‘blessings’.

As you go on your way today, please hear God’s Blessing as he sees you and speaks well of, and over, you, “You are my daughter, my son in whom I am delighted!” And it’s a daily blessing to be openly received; Peace, Hope, & Purpose spoken over, into, and through you today? And you don’t need to sneeze or cough to receive this blessing. God takes the intiative and helps us take His lead, to take every opportunity we can to notice, bless and compliment people we live, move, work, and play alongside. What multiplied blessings, and what a better and brighter world we’ll be creating!

God Bless You deeply and dearly my friends! You are God’s Delight!