Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Numbers 6:22-27: The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them, 'The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.' So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”
These are the words that we use at the end of every worship service. We use these words of God to send people from worship into their daily lives with His blessing. The people who earlier received the blessings of forgiveness and new life, receive the blessing of God's protection, that God would keep them and care for them. The people receive the blessing of life and light, that the presence of God's face radiate in their lives. The people receive God's grace, which is His love, mercy, forgiveness, and life. Countenance is an old word that is rarely used. It means favor, blessing, graciousness. And finally, the people receive the peace that passes all understanding which keeps us centered on Christ Jesus.
These words may seems, "hollow" in light of the hurricane and now the aftermath. People will more than likely ask, "You say these words of 'blessing.' Do you really mean them? They seem 'empty' in the face of the fact that I have no home, I'm living on a gym floor, and I have no idea when I'll get back." Some people will, out of frustration, anger, and fear, say this if we come to them, saying the blessing, waving our arms in the shape of a cross and do it in a manner that will be perceived as flippant.
When we say the words, because the Words of God have power to impact lives, we sit down next to the people, look them in the eyes, and say this:
The Lord is blessing you. He is keeping you safe and warm, even though this is not your home. God is shining His presence of life upon you. He is bringing the light of salvation to you with dry clothes, basic necessities and the like. God is gracious to you through the people who are volunteering their time and energy in your great time of sorrow and grief and loss. He is pouring His life to you through brothers and sisters in Christ. God is bestowing on you His favor and desire that you be safe, saved, and to know that God lead you to us. God is pouring down His peace. You may never know why this storm happened, why you were displaced out of your home, and why you, along with others, are now here. Even though you still have questions, let God's peace and joy fill you now so that you will have His energy and strength to face the work that will be upcoming.
God, pour Your Holy Spirit on us to use Your words to help others.
Pastor Robert Hemsath joined Faith Lutheran Church and School as the Senior Pastor in January 2017. Pastor Hemsath comes to FLC from Christ the King Lutheran Church in Waxahachie, TX. He has also served congregations in Aberdeen, ID and Pocatello, ID. He has been a Lutheran pastor for the past 20 years.