"Now the Lord said to Abram, 'I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.'" - Genesis 12:2-3
I have never been a regular talk show aficionado, but I remember my excitement the first time I heard Oprah utter the magical words, "You get one, you get one, you alllllll get one!" on her Annual List of Favorite Things. The excitement in the audience was palpable, even through my small 18-inch television. She left no one in her audience out of the equation; each person was able to say to their friends, "Yes! Even me . . . I got one too!"
Everyone was welcome to a gift, a present, hand-selected by Oprah herself. Imagine the anticipation mounting for a gift from Oprah.
As I read about Abram's gift, his endowment, his blessing that comes from God, all I picture is each of his descendants in all of their authentic, dynamic, awesome differences. And according to the scripture, Abram was told that his name would be great so that he would be a blessing: blessed to be blessed.
His descendants would be many, and today we sing: "Father Abraham had many sons (and daughters and children), many sons had Father Abraham, and I am one of them and so are you!" And each of the descendants, regardless of their differences — and maybe because of them — was and is welcome and blessed by God. God's gift leaves no room for exclusivity; color, nationality, sexual orientation, parental status, immigration status . . . all are blessed equally!
And I imagine God in heaven and on earth saying to each of us again and again, "You get a blessing, and you get a blessing — you all get a blessing!" Thanks be to God.
Thank you God for who we are, for whose we are. For where we sit and whose we are. For what we have is an overflow of your abundant blessings: I got a gift, and they got a gift, we all got gifts . . . . Thanks be to You! Amen and amen.
Ellivette Mendez Angulo is Project Coordinator, Encuentros de Gracia y Bienvenida, United Church of Christ.