Then when they were alone, he turned to the disciples and said, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you have seen."
-Luke 10:23 (Jesus to his disciples)
A few weeks ago it was announced that my cousin Ben was hired to a wonderful new position within his Indiana school district as the Director and Principal of their Career Center high school. It is exciting news, and a local newspaper carried the story. But it wasn't the job report that caught my eye in the story. It his quote about the opportunity.
"I feel severely blessed by all the great people that I get to work with and continue to work with," he said.
Honestly, I've never heard the phrase "severely blessed" before. Have you? My cousin is a really entertaining guy, and so I could easily imagine him saying this, but I've found myself sitting with that comment for weeks now (Ben, thanks for letting me have some fun at your expense, man. You're a good sport :).
What a great phrase. Severely blessed.
It creates all sorts of imagery, doesn't it? It's a little extreme, and a little weighty... but at the same time exceedingly good.
And, given the week we're in, that may just be the perfect description of a disciple of Jesus. Severely blessed.
We are blessed... but in the most extreme way.
We are blessed... but there's an intensity about it.
We are blessed... but there's a calling to it.
In the middle of Holy Week, today is the day where we remember the severe servanthood of Jesus as he washed the disciples feet on Maundy Thursday.
Tomorrow we'll remember the severe violence and rejection and injustice that Jesus endured on the cross, as well as the severe nature of a love that would give its life for another- a love that absorbs all the evil in the world and responds with forgiveness.
And on Sunday, we celebrate God's severe judgment over death itself, opening a new door for life now and forever with Jesus.
It's a week of being severely blessed.
But as resurrection people, there's even a severity about our calling.
When we think about how ridiculously good the news is about Jesus' resurrection, we begin to realize that it's too good to keep to ourselves.
Like Abraham was told by Yahweh in Genesis 12, God's blessing of him had a purpose-- and that was so that he would be a blessing to all the nations.
Blessed to be a blessing. A blessing with a calling. Maybe we call that a severe blessing as well? So good, so weighty. I think we're severely blessed.
The beauty of being severely blessed, though, is that at its core, it's still a blessing. This is not about pressure, but about how big and beautiful and important it all is. It doesn't rely on what we do, it relies on what God has done through a love beyond imagination.
So we step into our severe blessing full of grace, knowing that we have a responsibility to live God's unfolding kingdom, in everything we think, do, and say. But we've been given all we need to do it well, and to do it with the power of the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead.
This week brings with it an intense story with intense feelings- but it's all for our benefit. Our blessing is not lighthearted or passive. It's intense. It's daunting. It's beautiful. It's overwhelming. And that's because it flows from the most severe display of love that we could ever imagine.
What an incredible blessing we've been given. Let's rest in the grace and beauty of Jesus this Holy Week... and make the most of the gift God has given us by living a new life.
Jesus, as we receive your endless love again today and receive the story of ultimate love this weekend, spur us on to spread the kingdom you came to reveal.