Then taking the five loaves and the two fish,
and looking up to heaven,
he said the blessing over them, broke them,
and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd.
They all ate and were satisfied.
Often, we look at blessings as the reward for our struggles, the end of a journey, the answer to our prayers. In fact, we live life always looking to our rewards and blessings at the end so that blessings are seen as the end of life instead of seen life as the blessing itself.
But God does not give me his blessings at the end of life. He gives me his blessings in the beginning for life is the greatest blessing itself. He takes me. He calls me. He chooses me and says, “You are mine.” And then he blesses me. He anoints my head with oil and declares, “You are my beloved.”
Then, he breaks me – to pieces, into parts. Not to destroy or end me. But to put me back together into a new creation, a newer and better version. But more importantly, to be given away. Broken, there are more of me to be shared and given away. Like seeds that are scattered, strewn, sowed.
Christ was taken by the Father and blessed, “You are my beloved son.” Then, he was broken on the cross. Then he was given back to us in glory. In a similar way, we are chosen and called. Then we are blessed. To be broken. And then to be sent and given away.
Blessings are given not as rewards in the end. But blessings are given in the beginning to show and prove our beloved-ness, to fortify us for the brokenness and the giving away. Consider the beatitudes.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Who gives us a better glimpse of heaven? The poor struggling through their poverty or the rich wallowing in their lucre?
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Who brings more joys and blessings to others? The merciful or the merciless?
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Who shows us that there is God? Those who bind the wounds of war or those who wage it?
This is the life that God has given us: he takes us; he blesses us; he breaks us; and then he gives us to our brothers and sisters.