29th April 2017

Blessing in Action

“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.’”
Numbers 6:23-26 (NIV)

‘Bless you’ people say automatically when someone close by sneezes, showering everyone around with germs. Most countries have some way of wishing a sneezer well. Some say that it’s a habit formed during the plague – sneezing being a possible sign of the disease – though it may well have been started earlier than that. Others believed that a sneeze causes the soul to escape the body through the nose and the devil might claim it, and some say the opposite that the devil uses a sneeze to enter a body. Whatever the reason, it’s a convention that we seem happy to continue.

Hopefully when we bless God, it is not a thoughtless custom, but springs from our gratitude for his love for us expressed in many ways, one of which is that he blesses us. The Old Testament word ‘bless’ has its Hebrew roots in the idea of kneeling, and a blessing implies that a gift is given to another whilst kneeling. So when we bless God, we are doing so on bended knee, so to speak.

That seems a suitable way to for us to bless God, but does the omniscient, omnipresent, all-powerful God kneel to bless us? All we have to do is to look at Jesus, who came as a humble servant. Foot-washing was a task that was not even considered suitable work for a Jewish slave; it was preferable that it was carried out by a gentile. Yet the night before his crucifixion as the disciples sat down with him in the upper room, Jesus took off his outer garment, wrapped a towel around him, knelt down, and washed the mens’ feet, even the feet of the one who would betray him.

God’s grace comes to us both in his redeeming acts for us, and his blessing. As Jesus knelt and washed the dirt from the men’s feet, we are given more than the ‘root of the word’, but a vivid picture of God in the flesh bestowing on us a gift of cleansing. And in response we say:

Prayer
We bless you, our all-powerful Father, who in Christ humbly gives us innumerable blessings.
Amen

Study by Hilary Buck

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About the Author:
Hilary Buck pastors Grace Communion in Lewes. Like us on www.facebook.com/GCLewes

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion – Lewes
The Priory School
Mountfield Road
LEWES BN7 2XN

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11:00am

Local Congregational Contact:
Hilary Buck
Email: hilaryjbuck@gmail.com

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