Good morning all! We are in the homestretch now! Just two more days of devotional this season. I also just want to let you know that if you are in the area, I would love to see you at our prayer vigil tonight at 7pm at McMinnville Cooperative Ministries in our parking lot. If you aren’t in the area, please send your prayers our way!
PSALM 67 NRSV
1May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us, Selah
2that your way may be known upon earth,
your saving power among all nations.
3Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.
4Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you judge the peoples with equity
and guide the nations upon earth. Selah
5Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.
6The earth has yielded its increase;
God, our God, has blessed us.
7May God continue to bless us;
let all the ends of the earth revere him.
Last night I went to a choir concert for Aurora women’s choir in Portland. A fellow singer in Mac Women’s choir had bought the tickets and it was a wonderful night of singing. Before the concert, we were chatting about different aspects of singing and a couple characters that we have met in the past and how they touched us with singing. Then we started talking about the other end of that spectrum. People who can sing but push themselves or take over the scene with their voice. At the end of that conversation, I say, “Oh, bless her heart.”
This will mean something different for southerners out there. This particular phrase is almost a dismissal of all that has happened before. You can say just about anything snarky if you end it with, “Oh, bless their heart.” Right?
We tend to use this word, “bless,” pretty liberally these days it seems to me. I hear so many people just drop it like we are all on the same page. “What a blessing!” “I am so blessed” “She/he has been a blessing to me!” These are not bad things to say but I have realized this morning that I have almost lost the context for it. Do we just throw it out there as something to say?
So I looked up the definition of “to bless.” From Dictionary.com to bless means…
– To request of God the bestowal of favor
– To consecrate or sanctify by religious rite, make holy
– To bestow good of any kind
– To glorify or extol
So really this little word carries quite a package!
I went to look up some Hebrew meanings of the word bless. The Psalmist uses this word liberally for ourselves as well. This writer is asking that we might be blessed. What does that mean for this writer? The articles I read are about how every Hebrew word carries action. This act of blessing is one where God provides our needs and we respond with praise, thanksgiving and devotion. We react by kneeling down to receive the blessing. The blessing carries value.
I feel more confident now that we can talk about blessing around this time of year. The Psalmist isn’t so far from our requests this season for blessing. We should be also responding with blessing. We are provided for, therefore we can provide for others. Action requires action to one another. In this way, God’s face will shine on us (don’t you just love that imagery?). We we claim blessing and shout out blessing we are carrying all of this into the world. I can get behind that.
Blessings to you this day.