What is a family?
How can we bless people?
Here is something that the Church has not really come to grips with. It is indeed the glue that ought to bind us Christians together and to our Creator. It’s natural, it’s simple and it’s entirely underused. It is a way to honour God through our words and it also reflects Jesus’ desire for our well-being, bodily, emotionally and spiritually. In this Chapter I will be borrowing ideas from my transatlantic mate, John Garr, and his excellent little book, Blessings for Family and Friends (Golden Key Press, Atlanta 2009)
If it wasn’t for the Fall there would be a never-ending stream of blessing from God to all of us. The God of the Bible is the God of blessing and those of us in covenant with Him through our faith in the redemptive work of Jesus have access to this heavenly stream, though even those on the outside are blessed despite themselves.
He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matthew 5:45)
Let us start by looking at perhaps the most beautiful one of all, one that is becoming increasingly adopted by Churches, even those outside the messianic world. It’s the Aaronic Blessing.
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. (Numbers 6:24-26)
God gave this for Aaron, the high priest, to use as the main blessing for the Israelite nation. When the priesthood was disbanded on the loss of the temple, the responsibility for blessing the people passed to the heads of families, the fathers, in the family home, the new temples (mikdash me’at).
When Jesus blessed the children, he placed his hands on them and blessed them (Mark 10:16). In the same way Jewish fathers have blessed their children. Words thus expressed have great power, more so words of Scripture when spoken over children, wives or friends. The Bible is packed with words of blessings, for family members, for friends, for special occasions. In Jewish tradition there are over a hundred blessings that can be spoken in praise of God.
Here’s a simple blessing to get us started.
The blessing of the Lord be on you; I (we) bless you in the name of the Lord. (Psalm 129:8)
How about pausing now, finding someone and praying this blessing over them? Yes, it can be difficult and awkward for some of us, but it’s surely a good thing to do despite any brief embarrassment it may give you.
This is an extract from the book, Livin’ the Life, available for £10 at https://www.sppublishing.com/livin-the-life-151-p.asp