God Bless You Family, Enemy, Neighbour, Colleague, & Friend! Sprinkled and soaked in summer rains, a wee Irish blessing for you:
“May the blessing of the rain be on you—the soft, sweet rain. May it fall upon your soul so that all the little flowers spring up and shed their sweetness on the air. May the blessing of the great rains be on you, may they beat upon your spirit and wash it fair and clean, and leave there many a shining pool where the blue of heaven shines, and sometimes a star.”
We love to be blessed and are made for blessing. Stop and take time with me to count your blessings; even in pools of trial and suffering, careful and determined panning will sift gold, all too easily ignored or missed.
And we were made to channel blessing. We feel more human, more connected to God, in tune with our own sou, and other people when we share the iceberg melting, beaming smile of God.
“God spoke to Moses: “Tell Aaron and his sons, this is how you are to bless the People of Israel. Say to them, God bless you and keep you, God smile on you and gift you, God look you full in the face and make you prosper. In so doing, they will place my name on the People of Israel— I will confirm it by blessing them.” (MSG) Numbers 6
“SHALOM!” is how Jews today share God’s Soulful Peace, in greeting one another, but it easily waters down to the ‘moo of a coo’, a fleeting greeting. The Aaronic blessing above seeks God’s protection, pardon and peace for people we meet and rub shoulders with.
Having heard loud and clear God’s ‘YES, I’m for you!’ in Christ, experienced God’s amazing Grace and forgiveness, and bathed in Almighty God’s beaming smile, I realise what a vital responsibility we have to counter and erase the distorted views of God as a divine policeman, kill-joy ogre with a sharp stick, inept white-bearded grand daddy in the sky, etc. Smoothing and soothing furrowed frowns with the infectious, glowing, open, full-in-the-face smile of God, melting the icy crust and core of a world bewitched by the author of lies.
I’m struck by Julian of Norwich’s vision of Christ at a party: “My mind was lifted to heaven and I saw our Lord as a Lord in his own house where he had called his much-loved friends and servants to banquet. I saw that the Lord did not sit in one place, but ranged throughout the house, filling it with joy and gladness. He himself, courteously and companionably, greeted and delighted his dear friends with love shining from his face like a marvellous melody without end. It is this look of love shining from God’s face that fills the heavens full of joy and gladness.”
Alas, often Christ is pictured in the Arts as earnest and a bit vacant (glaikit), even mildly angry, but considering how often Jesus partied with all kinds of folk, Julian’s vision is surely closer to the truth.
As the chorus goes: ‘And He’s (Jesus) here when we call Him, bringing health, love and laughter to life now and ever after, for the good of us all.’
God’s shining, smiling Shalom and Blessing be in, to, and through you all my friends! See how infectious a smile can be.