Is there a more solicitous, tender, and widely used benediction from the Bible than the blessing God asked Moses to have his elder brother, Aaron (a prophet and priest), bestow upon the Israelites? “The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace” (Numbers 6:24-26).
This blessing comes at the end of the section in chapters five and six concerned with the holiness and well-being of the entire community.
In those days – and just as frequently today – such benedictions were one way of asking for divine favor to rest upon others. In recent years many religion writers have probed deeply into the role blessing plays in community life, including the prolific Dallas Willard, who has written that “blessing is the projection of good into the life of another. It isn’t just words” (Christianity Today, Jan-Feb). And it always involves God, he adds, because only God is capable of bringing that about.
That observation goes much deeper than the “bless you” reflex after a sneeze, or even some of those genuine but hasty blessings that punctuate religious ceremonies. When benedictions come from the heart and are imbued with the love of God, they bless the speaker just as much as those receiving them and provide a helpful model of caring for others. They become a way of life.
So, blessing is essentially wrapped in love – an act of unselfish giving that, by its nature, opens windows of possibility and guarantees peace for those upon whose shoulders it gently lands, and especially on those who hunger to know God more deeply and make time for prayer that is unhurried by everyday demands.
In a chapter on the Bible’s book of Genesis in the Christian Science textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mary Baker Eddy wrote about the blessings that flow from the qualities of Spirit, which is “symbolized by strength, presence, and power, and also by holy thoughts, winged with Love.” She continued, “Spirit blesses the multiplication of its own pure and perfect ideas” (p. 512).
Speaking metaphorically, yet in accord with established spiritual laws, we can say that God’s “shining face” is never turned from us, and nothing can slow or dilute the flow of His blessings toward each one of us!
“[God’s] work is done,” Mrs. Eddy writes elsewhere in Science and Health, “and we have only to avail ourselves of God’s rule in order to receive His blessing, which enables us to work out our own salvation” (p. 3) – and share the benefits, Aaron-style, with others.
From an editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel.