On March 10th we loaded up ‘Dave’ the truck and set sail for one of our favourite family holiday destinations – Fairmont. We did some skiing, tobogganing, snowshoeing, lots of swimming, soaking in the hot springs, reading and generally relaxed in the shadows of the Rockies for a week or so.
The resort we were privileged to stay in was brand new and nearly empty! We almost always had the indoor pool to ourselves, which is a very good thing if you have any idea how loud our girls can become.
And it was while I was riding the elevator down to the pool level to join my family that I received an unexpected blessing. A resort worker entered the elevator and we both assumed the classic posture – eyes forward, mouths closed, breathing slowed. I wondered about this man, though. He was an hispanic male in his mid thirties. Was he here on his own? Legally, I presume? Did he speak English? Should I try out my rusty Spanish on him? What would I say?
My brief musings were interrupted by the ding of the elevator – we had arrived at our destination – and before I could say, ‘hasta la vista, baby’ the man turned to me, smiled and said, ‘have a truly bless-ed evening’.
In that moment, I felt blessed. What a great way to part company, even with a perfect stranger, by blessing one another. It just seemed far superior to the customary departing words that I am used to in our culture.
Several years ago, we had the opportunity to host two men from Nigeria at our church. One was a Muslim Imam and the other a Pentecostal Pastor. Both had become friends and were working for peace in their own country (they still are). We shared a meal together and after the conversation died down the Imam said to me, ‘Pastor Scott, why don’t you bless your people as we conclude our time’, or words to that effect. I was caught off guard. Firstly, I didn’t see the congregation as ‘my people’ and, secondly, I realized that I was not in the habit of ‘blessing’ them. I mumbled some words and then we set about cleaning up the dishes.
From that time on, I became somewhat determined to discover what it meant to ‘bless’ the people of God. I didn’t have to look far. In Numbers 6, the priests are instructed to bless the people with certain words. The promise is that when the people are blessed in this way, that God himself will put his name on the people and he himself will bless them. What a great promise.
So, even though I have not yet graduated to the level of my hispanic resort worker, I have, over the years sought to bless God’s people with these beautiful words: ‘May the LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace’.
Have a bless-ed day.