May God Bless You with Discomfort, Anger, Tears, and Foolishness

"May God bless you with discomfort....
May God bless you with anger....
May God bless you with tears....
May God bless you with...foolishness...."

These are the opening lines of four stanzas of a Franciscan blessing, and they rattled me when I first heard them last week at CCDA's national conference. It is almost unfathomable in Western culture and most Christian communities to speak like this. We normally ask for God to bless us with comfort, contentment, happiness and wisdom, NOT discomfort, anger, tears and foolishness! Why ask God to give us these things? And why on earth should we consider them blessings? 

When I have questions about God, I ask Jesus. He might say that some things are more important than comfort (Matthew 8:19-20). Jesus might say that my individual happiness here and now is not on the top of the cosmic priority list (Matthew 5:3-4).  What is on the top of the priority list is the reconciliation of people with God, other people, and the land. What is on the top of the priority list is bringing into reality a world of justice and flourishing, both physically and spiritually, for every person.

That is why the Franciscan blessing says "May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers [and] half-truths...with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people....with tears to shed for those who suffer pain....and with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in the world...." 

It is also the reason is why we are hosting our second Vision Night: Embody Justice. We are going to be looking at the question, "What does a community looks like that not only cares about justice, but lives justly? What does a community look like that not only does justice once in a while (mostly to relieve the guilt of not doing anything most of the time), but rather embodies justice for the city?" If you're intrigued by that question...we'd love for you to join us. 

(*Photo is a Creative Commons Share*)