Camas Friends Church

A Quaker Meeting in Camas, WA

Bless and Do Not Curse

Blessings And Curses

This week I’d like for us to reflect on the power of language and our speech as the people of God. Paul wrote these timely words:

“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. (Rom 12:14)

And James said:

“You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness. Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls. (James 1:19–21)

Both of these biblical authors affirm the deeper truth that Jesus himself was one who uttered blessings on behalf of those who were themselves understood to be cursed:

“When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matt 5:1–12)

I find these passages to be both challenging and hold contemporary weight for what has seemed to me to be a heightened sense of anger in public discourse as of late. They also seem to be a good outflowing of things we reflected on last month. But it’s easy to keep things "out there" also. What if we move this reflection in closer to home? What things get stirred for you?

Queries:

1. What does it really mean to bless/curse another person with language?
2. In what ways have I been a recipient of both blessings or curses? How have these things impacted my life?
3. What might we need to do to grow as a community who "blesses and does not curse?"

See you Sunday!

About Wess

is the William R. Rogers Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC., PhD in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary, served as a "released minister" at Camas Friends Church, and father of three. He enjoys sketchnoting, sharing conversation over coffee with a friend, listening to vinyl and writing creative nonfiction.

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This entry was posted on February 2, 2011 by in Uncategorized.

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