the first sunday after christmas: a blessing, a shining face

In the liturgical calendar, this week is the week of the first sunday after Christmas.  The time between Christmas and Epiphany.  The Old Testament text for this week is from Numbers 6:22-27, the very famous blessing:

“the LORD bless thee and keep thee,

the LORD make his face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee

the LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace”

(num 6:24-26)

The words are given by God to Moses to give to Aaron to give to the people (num. 6:22-3).  It sounds kind of like the way 8th grade girls communicate, but maybe there is something more going on. I mean, it would be sad if God functioned at the level of emotional maturity of an 8th grade girl, no offense to 8th grade girls. But I think there is a reason for the levels of communication in these verses, and I think part of it is that there is something in those words of blessing that just gives peace in the telling.  God could have sort of magically instilled the blessing in the people himself, but instead he used Moses to mediate the words to Aaron, and Aaron (and his sons) to mediate the words to the people.

God says to Moses, to say to Aaron, to say to his sons, to say to the people: tell them (to tell each other) that I am beaming radiantly at them, tuning toward them with light and peace.

And maybe we are supposed to bless other people like that.  Tell each other blessings.  Remind each other that God’s face is shining on us, that he is gracious toward us, that God’s very countenance (actually the same word in Hebrew as face in the verse before), is turned toward us.  His face is shining with light, and the light of his face is turned toward us.

Because maybe the more we tell it, the more it sinks in, the more we believe it.



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