I love being a part of a family, the VLC family. Last Sunday was a powerful gathering for me. I experienced fatherhood on so many levels that I couldn’t speak at the closing of the singing time. I pray that as we approach our worship gathering for this Sunday, your heart will be expectant and open for God’s presence to touch you in the midst of his people.
Priestly Blessing Wrap-up – Community Style
The LORD said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:
“‘“The LORD bless you
and keep you;
the LORD make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’
“So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”
I hope this study of the priestly blessing has been enriching for you. I must say, it certainly has been for me. Reflecting back over the devotionals, I realized that the focus of most of them has been on the individual level. This is fine, except that it minimizes the impact of the blessing. There is a community level to this blessing, as well. I won’t take six weeks to develop this concept. We’ll wrap this up by taking a higher view of this blessing, seeking to understand what God’s blessing in our lives could mean to those we come in contact with.
We are blessed to be a blessing. This is the heritage of the people of God. “Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.” (Genesis 18:18, Galatians 3:8) Through Christ, this heritage is now ours. It just requires that we live with open hands and open hearts.
We are kept so we can be a haven. The Old Testament is replete with references to caring for the foreigner, the poor, the widow, and the orphan. The apostle James writes, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27)
Our smile is potent when we’ve been smiled upon. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” (Philippians 4:4-5) We may never know how much hope is conveyed in a smile. So, be as liberal as you can in your joy.
Mercy triumphs over judgement. (James 2:13) As I mentioned in a previous post, gracious can also be translated as merciful. We can take our queues from Jesus in this regard. Since he was a friend to sinners, he could lead them to the Father whose love brings about repentance.
Community (relationship with people) is the pathway to God. In an earlier post I wrote, “He has made every way for us to know him face to face.” We have come to know God through Jesus, and Jesus through a friend or loved one. The Great Commission’s discipleship is best expressed in community, which leads me to the last point.
The one place one earth that the peace of God should be expected is with the people of God. If peace is the product of being in a face to face relationship with God, then peace should be a prominent characteristic within the gathering of God’s people. What better way to share the Good News of Jesus than to live in peace. I wrote last week, “the peace of God comes through an open, integral, and submitted relationship with him. He is offering us all of himself if we do the same. … peace is the fruit of a mutual giving of self.” This has powerful potential if exercised in the church and in the world.
I hope you see that this blessing is not just something to be treasured, but shared, so that all may know and enjoy the blessing of God’s presence.
Grace and peace,