At the beginning of March, my best mate sent me a text with a link to a song and the sentence “the bridge is yours, my friend”. That night I wept in my kitchen to the sound of ‘The Blessing’ for the first time. Dave and I had just started talking about what it would look like to try again and expand our family and the words of the bridge “May His favour be upon you, And a thousand generations, And your family and your children, And their children, and their children” felt like a promise that one day there would be children plural… that Isaac would get a buddy and our children would have children and so on and so forth… something I had not allowed myself to think about because the fear of the alternative was just too much. This song, taken straight from scripture in Numbers 6:24-27 is an ancient blessing given to Moses by God to be given to Israel, God’s people. It is a song that has been used by Christians for a long time to bless each other, sung and said over congregations as Christians are sent out into the world. At the very beginning of March, this ancient blessing was once again given new life in the form of a song offered by Kari Jobe and Cody Carnes.
Fast forward to August and our family plans are back on hold, we like many places around the globe are in lockdown, trying to avoid others as the world works out how to manage COVID and this simple song has become an anthem of 2020. This morning I watched the New Zealand version of The Blessing and once again I was in tears. It is just one of many many versions of this song that has been produced over the last few months as a collective blessing from God via churches across the globe to all. Every time I watch one of these recordings I am struck by 4 things…
1. It’s Specific
Even though all the recordings are of the same song each one is incredibly unique. Different voices, different spaces, different languages, different circumstances. The expression of the song, the imagery that is used… footage of the beautiful land they are praying over, snapshots into people homes and lives as they record themselves with whatever they have. It becomes a very personal prayer over specific places and people. Each authentically worshipping in a style that best represents those they want to bless. It feels incredibly personal to see these worshipers vulnerably offering their sacrifice of praise as an offering to their homeland, to their families to their friends and then to the world. As I watched the Australian Blessing I was struck by how much I loved the country I call home… this beautiful land and its people and how much I desperately wanted this blessing for my home. For its beaches, for its red dirt, for its bush and for its people… this global blessing was for us… right here.
It’s hard not to notice the unity of these videos, bringing 100s of individual voices together to sing, recorded separately and then blended and offered together. People of all walks of life positioned side by side, presenting as one. Unified in purpose to bless. These people who represent the very wide breadth of the church working together, not fighting or arguing about theological differences, but standing together to declare God’s love for his people to a world in chaos. It is inclusive… old and young, rich and poor, traditional and contemporary, Catholic and Protestant, every denomination, every tribe and every tongue declaring a collective blessing overall they have been sent to.
It’s also hard to miss the passion and the affection being poured out in these recordings, people consumed by worshipping their God as they speak on his behalf. Again each in their own way, some charismatically, some more reserved, some with instruments and others with just their voice. There is even a small boy in the ‘children’s blessing’ who uses his computer to allow him to speak and participate in this collective worship. This blessing is heartfelt and offered with everything… nothing is held back. The recordings aren’t all polished and produced so that there are no blemishes, they are honest and raw.
4. The cry of my heart
But what gets me most every time is the stirring I feel in my heart, that this is what I want and this is what I want to offer. That this is my prayer too… that God would bless me, my family, my community, my land. That this unity created by individuals because of Christ is just what this broken world needs… that the blessing is for all and is there to be received if you would just be open to it. That there is no place that this blessing can’t reach because there is nowhere God will not go for his people… us… all of humanity. This is what I want you to know, this is what I want to teach Isaac… He is for you… in all the craziness that is 2020, He is for you regardless of your circumstances, regardless of your nationality, regardless of your creed… the King of Kings is for you and wants to bless you.
So if you haven’t already allowed yourself to receive this blessing… it’s available in almost every language at just the click of button… but just to get you started here are a few of my favourites:
- The Blessing with Kari Jobe & Cody Carnes – 06.03.20
- Australia – 06.06.20
- Aotearoa/New Zealand – 20.08.20
- Ghana – 05.06.20
- Zimbabwe – 11.05.20
- China – 18.07.20
- The Blessing in Hebrew – 12.06.20
- Sweden – 23.05.20
And here is God’s blessing for you:
The Lord bless you
And keep you
Make His face shine upon you
And be gracious to you
The Lord turn His
Face toward you
And give you peace
May His favour be upon you
And a thousand generations
And your family and your children
And their children, and their children
May His presence go before you
And behind you, and beside you
All around you, and within you
He is with you, He is with you
In the morning, in the evening
In your coming, and your going
In your weeping, and rejoicing
He is for you, He is for you