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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day 21: God bless you

Today's Reading: Genesis 27-29

It is the cold season. People all around us are sneezing. We have learned to quickly say, "God bless you," whenever we hear a sneeze.

This practice dates back to 77 AD when some thought the soul was thrown out of the body or one's heart stopped during a sneeze. The blessing was very sincere, believed necessary for revival and survival of the fellow human who was sniffling and sneezing.

Now days, this phrased is used by the religious and the nonreligious alike, and probably with equal insincerity.

In today's reading, however, we see the absolute value, power and irrevocable effects of a blessing: The conniving, the deceit and the lengths to which one will go to secure the blessing; and then the depths of sorrow, the anger and the course setting aspects for future prospects expressed over the loss of the blessing.

This story begs the question: Do I understand this practice of blessing? Have I ever intentionally blessed my children and others whom I love? How much credence do I give to the words of blessing that would come from my mouth? that are expressed by others for me?

The moment of benediction is part of our weekly liturgy. We receive a blessing from God. The one used most frequently in the worshipping community of which I am a part is the Aaronic Benediction from Numbers 6:24-26.

"The LORD bless you, and keep you. The LORD make his face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you. The LORD lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace."

This is not a blessing we want to miss; it is not a time to be checking our watches, looking for keys, cleaning up our space in the pew, or helping our children with their coats.

We are receiving the blessing of the LORD. It is a high and holy time.

And in today's passage, we learn one does not come to the blessing haphazardly. One is called, one prepares, one brings an offering, one converses with the giver of the blessing, a meal is shared---all as a prelude to the benedicting act. [Sounds like an order of worship to me!]

The Word of God states ""All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the children of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." [2 Timothy 3:16, 17]

Today, Lord, teach, rebuke, correct and train me regarding the blessing. Prepare me to live out the blessing you have already given to me. May I rest in your blessing. May I trust in your keeping. May I become fruitful under the shining of your face upon me. May I recognize your graciousness. May I never live in a way which would lower your countenance. May I discern your peace. Thoroughly equip me for every good work to which you are calling me.

"Bless me, even me also, O my Father." 27:34, 38

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