Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Lord Bless You & Keep You

Our church introduced a new practice for the close of our traditional morning worship service. We turn to one another and sing the familiar Aaronic blessing the Lord gave to Moses to give to Israel: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you . . .” (Num. 6:24-26). Our hearts are uplifted as we mutually catch the eye of a fellow believer and extend our blessing to him or her.

One Sunday, I noticed a heartwarming and special exchange that has now become a weekly event. In a pew near the front sat Oscar and Marian Carlson, faithful followers of Jesus Christ and devoted partners for the 62 years of their married life. When we began to sing, Oscar reached over and took Marian’s hands in his. They sang the opening words of this special blessing to each other before looking to others. Everyone nearby sneaked a peek at the look of love and tenderness on their faces.

A benediction is not simply a ritualistic closing; it’s a genuine prayerful wish for God’s goodness to follow the other person. In offering it to one another, Oscar and Marian exemplify its warmest and deepest meaning. In blessing others, we express gratitude for what God has done for us through Christ’s death (Heb. 13:20-21). — David C. Egner

Bless me, Lord, and make me a blessing;
I’ll gladly your message convey;
Use me to help some poor needy soul,
And make me a blessing today. —Anon.

God gives blessing to us so we can be a blessing to others.

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