A blessing for all of us this Christmas.
This is our last Newsletter for the year. We hope that you have found them helpful – an opportunity to pause and reflect. Our plan is to continue to send these out to you until some sort of normality to regained. I’m praying that this will not be too far away!
Wishing you and your families the very best for a blessed, safe Christmas. Mark
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
Having a key worker and vulnerable person in our family bubble makes for an interesting time at the moment. Yesterday there was notification of another confirmed Covid case within the group of people linked to us. The process which follows is now well known to us; a phone call arranging for a further test, journey to have the test and then a wait. Life is full of busyness and pause. Trying not to get too stressed doing both. We wait for the results and (hopefully) a negative test.
This is the life cycle we have been living under recently. It is absolutely necessary and our responsibility to try to keep everyone safe.
As I was waiting for Pip to return from her test, God’s blessing to Moses and his chosen people came to mind. They are wonderful words, often sung during a service* or said by a Priest as those who gather leave and go out into the world.
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. (Num.6: 24-26 – NRSV)
These verses are the desire of God’s heart for His people. What more do we need? The God who is over all things, who created all things, wants the very best for us. In other words he wants to bless us.
As I found myself thinking of these words, this is what I wanted for my family.
The meaning of the word “Bless” is about holiness: to separate unto God. It is about a movement from things which are common, turning deliberately and distinctive towards God. It is what happens when we acknowledge Jesus as sovereign and become holy under God’s umbrella of righteousness. It is what God really wants to offer us. Indeed it is the best he can offer.
This helps to understand the other words in this blessing. God is, as it were, our protector and our defence. He wants us near Him. The word “keep”, that is used here, is about being drawn into God’s care where we will be safe. His promise is not only to protect us, but to take care of us. As God watches over us His face shines on us.
I don’t know where you are with your faith. Some of you will find yourself agreeing with these words. Others will struggle, unable to accept a universal, big, God being interested in me!
For me however, I find myself drawn to these words. They are comforting when everything around me is in flux. I want to bless my family, I want God’s protection on them, especially when I am unable to guarantee it myself. I don’t want special treatment or favour, but rather desire His blessing to be on all of us.
This idea of blessing resonates as I think about the approaching Christmas Season. It is this special time where we witness Jesus who comes to us as a child, His light which disrupts and destroys the darkness. It is, again, God’s special blessing on us. What could be more giving, more generous than to offer up a son for us and others?
May God’s blessing rest on you this Christmas.
Happy Christmas everyone.
Rev. Mark Bodeker
* For those who would like to listen to these verses set to music please listen to this; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zp6aygmvzM4
A Prayer of Blessing;
May the blessing of light be on you – light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine on you like a great peat fire,
so that stranger and friend may come and warm himself at it.
And may light shine out of the two eyes of you,
like a candle set in the window of a house,
bidding the wanderer come in out of the storm.
And may the blessing of the rain be on you,
may it beat upon your Spirit and wash it fair and clean,
and leave there a shining pool where the blue of Heaven shines,
and sometimes a star.
And may the blessing of the earth be on you,
soft under your feet as you pass along the roads,
soft under you as you lie out on it, tired at the end of day;
and may it rest easy over you when, at last, you lie out under it.
May it rest so lightly over you that your soul may be out from under it quickly; up and off and on its way to God.
And now may the Lord bless you, and bless you kindly. Amen.
Celtic Blessings From Other Sources (Sources given where known – copyright not known)