There is a pretty popular Christian song on playing on the radio called "The Blessing" by Kari Jobe & Cody Carnes. The song is very simple in its lyrics and yet there is something that speaks to almost anyone and everyone who hears it.
The song is based on The Priestly Blessing that comes to us from Numbers 6: 22-26.
The Lord said to Moses, Tell Aaron and his sons this is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them,
I will never forget the first time I heard these words and what they have come to mean to me over the last few years of the ministry that God has called me to.
Many of you know that my dad is also an Ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church. One of the churches he served in during my adolescence was at Asbury Church in Corpus Christi; it was at the beginning of my 7th Grade year when we moved there.
At the time, the now Rev. Trudy Paul was our youth pastor, and it just so happened that my first meeting of the youth program was in the summer at a pool party at her house.
After our time of hanging out in the pool and meeting new friends, we took some time to share. We sat down in a circle, lit a candle, and passed it around. When it was your turn to hold the candle, you would have a chance to share where you saw God this week, or to lift up a prayer request. After that time was over, we would place the candle in the center of the room, and these words would be spoken:
"We place the candle in the center of the room, symbolizing that Christ is the center of our lives. We remember that what was said here, stays here, and what is learned here is taken out into the world. Cross your right hand over your left and grab the hand of the person next to you, symbolizing that when we say Amen, we answer the call to go out into the world."
It was at this moment when we would say the Priestly Blessing, as if we were praying it over each other.
May the Lord Bless you and Keep you
May the Lord make his face to shine upon you
and Be gracious unto you
May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you
and give you peace. Amen.
Then, of course, we would all try to turn around in the circle as fast as we could so we could be the first one to blow the candle out. (That wasn't part of the time, merely a consequence of a lighted candle around a bunch of teenagers).
The second week in Advent comes with some controversy. Depending on where you go, the second and 4th weeks get mixed up. It can either be Peace or Love. Traditionally, I have always celebrated Peace on the 2nd week, but the reality is, it doesn't really matter. After all, I think we all could use a little peace right now.
Something we don't often think about during this season. Sure, we hear the words, but do we really think about it; meditate on it? Do we take time to really experience the peace of God? The "Peace that passes all understanding?" (Down in my heart?)
I've often wondered why Jesus came when he did. Why did he come to First Century Judea? Why didn't he come to 21st Century America? Well, I guess there are a few reasons I can think of, but one of them would be, Maybe there would be NO ONE who would believe what they saw? Who knows, but God?
Anyway, I believe that Jesus came when he did because it was the perfect time. It was the right time for the Prince of Peace to enter into the chaos and change everything.
I hope during this chaotic season, with the Virus, with the news of Vaccines, with the news of continuous lock-downs for parts of the country, even with the hustle and bustle of the Christmas Holidays and High School Football playoffs (Go Jackets!), that you take a moment to receive the Peace that Christ brings into every situation.
Peace, Be Still.
Let us pray,
Lord, I am so thankful that we are in the season of advent. I thank you, Father, for the recognition that even in 2020, in the midst of all the chaos, you have come to bring us peace. Help us to focus on you, help us to focus on the peace you want to bring to us.
In Jesus Name.
Growing up in the United Methodist Church, I have always had a passion for ministry. Now, I have been called to serve the people of Llano at an awesome place called Lutie Watkins Memorial!