from Redeemer Pastor Jonathan Trapp
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, (Selah) that your way may be known upon earth, your saving power among all nations. Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you. Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. (Selah) Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you. The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, has blessed us. May God continue to bless us; let all the ends of the earth revere him.
Since the middle of March the number of friends I’ve interacted with in person (while socially distanced) can be counted on two hands, without using nearly all my fingers. And I know I’m not alone. And it’s challenging and sometimes I can feel so alone.
But in the midst of a global pandemic the likes of which we haven’t seen for a century, as we also see the results of 400 years of systemic racism, as we seem to see the divide in our country and our world widen every day, it can be refreshing to hear a word that speaks a bit of hope into our lives.
When we’ve been shut up and distanced from each other for so very long and when we don’t know when it will end, to hear ‘May God be gracious to us, bless us and make God’s face shine upon us’ are words I personally need to here. This Psalm is a number of things for me. First, it’s a reminder that God is fully present with us, that God is walking with us through the difficult times.
And more than that, this Psalm is a reminder that God is not just with us now, but that God has promised to be with us in the future. It’s a reminder for me that no matter what we face, we are not alone because God is not only walking alongside us in our journey, but God is walking ahead of us and showing us a way forward to a better world.
And finally, this Psalm is one that reminds of the mission to which we are called. Israel was called to be a blessing to all the nations of the world. God blesses us so that in our thoughts, words, and deeds we can be a blessing to others. God’s blessing is for the purpose of working for justice and peace throughout the world.
This notion of God’s blessing speaks hope to me in my weariness. It uplifts me and it reminds me of my purpose and calling; and not just mine, but of all of our purpose and calling and how we are called to work together speak God’s blessing to all those we meet.
Because if we need to hear this good news, we can be certain that others do too.
God of hope, you speak your blessing upon the world and with it, you comfort us in our distress. Speak hope to those who are struggling, uplift those who are down, empower those who feel powerless. We pray you would grace us with your Holy Spirit that we might reflect your blessings to all whom we encounter; that our words might bring hope, that our actions might bring justice, and that our lives might bring love to the world. We ask all of this in the name of your son, our savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.