Revelation 7:9-17 † Psalm 34:1-10, 22 † 1 John 3:1-3 † Matthew 5:1-12
“We have to stop and get Gran some ice cream.”
That was the memory that pressed in most strongly as I looked down at the rough map of my family that I had drawn. It was for a class, this map, and I wasn’t at all happy that I had to do it. We were to draw out the relational and emotional map of our families 3 generations back so that we could examine together the dynamics and the forces that are at play; so we could see what had formed us, and what has power over us.
I looked down at my map, all colored boxes and tiny dates and squiggly lines. “We have to stop and get Gran some Ice cream”, I heard my mom say, and my dad, and my uncle Hugh, my Uncle Ralph, my cousin James, my cousin Helen.
You see, when we gathered at my Gran’s house with family, everyone knew that someone had to stop at the corner shop right below her apartment and grab a little tub of the soft serve ice cream they sold there.
Now all these years later, it is this thing that I remember, so fondly. So much more happened in my family as shown by the rough contours of my map. Rough times, and happier times. People, regular, complex people trying to do the best they could, struggling with hurt passed down over the generations. Family gatherings could get difficult, old patterns kicked in. But she would always look forward to ice cream, and she would laugh when we brought it, and she would sit with her grandkids, while the other adults did their thing, she would sit and share a little ice cream.
Malachi 3:1-4 • Hebrews 2:14-18 • Luke 2:22-40
So, I have lived in this country long enough to know that, in some parts, the phrase ”bless your heart” has a very certain meaning and it’s really not very nice.
In Scotland we have a similar response when someone has shown that they just don’t get it or have stepped over the line. “God love them” we’ll say, because, well, really who else possibly could is the undertone. Same idea I think in "Bless your heart," right?
But, let’s put that particular understanding of blessing aside for a few minutes. What is it that we mean when we say that something is blessed? Jesus identifies nine different sets of people as blessed in this passage we read – what does he mean by that and what does it mean for us?
St. Andrew Sermons