My assigned readings take me back. Back.
This week we had a birthday (we are still celebrating), and I prayed this blessing over my precious children. Aaron’s blessing (verses 22-26)
22 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 23 “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,
24 The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord lift up his countenance[c] upon you and give you peace.
27 “So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.” ESV
This is a blessing I speak over them often. And, as I often do, I remembered the first time(s) I ever heard this blessing spoken and the way the grace of it has stayed with me down all of these years.
In college, I attended a wonderful, large church with fellow Young Life leaders and at the end of every service, Pastor Brooke would call the congregation to stand. He would lift up his hands in blessing and speak these verses over the body- and we would go forth with the gold of that grace resting on us. I can still feel the strength of that benediction, the fatherly love, and the spiritual direction.
Suddenly, I am hearing the Newsboys in my mind. It is 1998 and “Entertaining Angels” is playing… such a special song for Todd and I that we had it played at our wedding (1999)… and I can see us all circled round and dancing… dancing to the playlist we especially created as we stood together to start a life of faith as a new family. Surrounded by sweet, young friends… a family in the faith… celebrating with music all our own.
Now… studying the lyrics of this song does not garner for me a greater understanding of this text- except to fill my heart with the wonder and mystery of the real host of God and the intersection of spiritual and natural… that is ever so much more present that I truly realize.
And Hebrews 13 is a call to holiness and purity- and different verses stand out to me:
13 Let brotherly love continue. 2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.3 Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. 4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. 5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” ESV
7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. ESV
16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. ESV
20 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us[b] that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. ESV
Lord, help me to order my life according to priorities that honor You. Help me to live for You and know contentment in You. Help me to love you from my whole heart. Let me rest in the benediction of Your grace. Amen.