A few years ago, when the concept of a hashtag on social media surged in popularity, one of the most frequently used hashtags was #blessed. It was used less often for an identification of divine favor and more often for good news or, in more cynical moments, as a satirical accessory to “humble-bragging” – highlighting one’s own successes. A promotion or raise? #Blessed. Expensive gift from a loved one? #Blessed. Sunset views from a palatial summer home? #Blessed. If our successes aren’t made public for comments and envy, are they even truly successes? More importantly, why do we make being blessed synonymous with positive circumstances or things going our way?
For us as Christians, a “blessed” life is not necessarily synonymous with a successful life. Indeed, one of the most famous uses of the word “blessed” in the Gospels is in the Sermon on the Mount (the Beatitudes), wherein Jesus details who will be blessed among God’s people. It is not those with the accomplishments deemed worthy by society, but those who are meek, poor in spirit, peacemakers – that is, those who embody the most authentic qualities of divine favor. The nature of being blessed which Jesus identifies are not those of our material successes, but of our spiritual successes – pointing not to our own merits but to the greater glory of God.
In this Easter season, the concept of our being #blessed should point directly back to the cross and resurrection of Christ. We have 50 days of celebrating our God, who took on our human experience and gave us instead the promise of eternal life – Alleluia! We are #blessed indeed!