Today’s scripture selection: Numbers 5-8
Key verses: Numbers 6:24-26
It’s funny the things that you remember; that stick in your mind as you grow older.
My father was a minister; a hospital chaplain for most of his career. I don’t remember when I first heard him say it; or how often – but it sticks in my mind. It’s “the blessing.”
It’s the traditional one found in the Old Testament; the one God said Aaron and his sons were to use when blessing the Israelites:
“The LORD bless thee and keep thee: the LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.”
I remember my Dad giving that blessing, at the end of many chapel services, as veterans – some young, some old – sat quietly with their heads bowed.
It still brings me comfort to hear or read, or now say, those words at the conclusion of a worship service.
Maybe it’s partially the nostalgic feelings about my own family memories. But I think it is also because it is such a simple and beautiful benediction.
It’s the idea of God’s face shining upon us and giving us peace – it just calms the soul. Though I can’t imagine what God’s face is like, or how I could possibly stand in His presence, I somehow take comfort in the idea that being there would bring not just “shock and awe” but peace as well.
The “blessing” – may it rest on all who need it…now and always.
Prayer: Father God, thank you for your blessing and your peace, which always calms me. AMEN.
By Paul Simrell
The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program.
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton
View all of Paul Simrell's posts.