“Thus you shall bless the Israelites: You shall say to them, ‘The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.’ So they shall put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”
-- Numbers 6:23-27
God commanded his priest Aaron to bless the people, and through that blessing he “put his name” in them. God “put his name” in us at our baptisms and has blessed us through Christ so we can bless others with his love. As Christians who have been made “priests to serve our God” (Revelation 1:6), we carry that mission forward into today’s world. We are made to bless! Like Abraham, who knew he was “blessed to be a blessing” (Genesis 12:2), we too are given promises and gifts to share with the world.
This October is a month of blessing at Atonement. We will be blessing pets and animals before the service on October 2. We’re blessing new members on October 16. We’re blessing Lutheran Outdoor Ministries and our Lutheran camps with our prayers and pledges to Mission Possible. We’re blessing trick-or-treaters with our Trunk-or-Treat festival on October 22. And on October 30, we share the blessings of our Reformation heritage with a special service and Reformation dinner. I hope you will come and be blessed this month with God’s Word and Sacraments, his grace and his love. And I pray you will spread that blessing by inviting others, bringing your friends to be blessed as well, and being a blessing to them through your care and concern.
Often we think of Aaron’s blessing from Numbers 6 as a prayer requesting God to send his blessing, as if it read “May the Lord bless and keep you…” etc. But this understanding would be a wrong translation of the original Hebrew words. The Scripture text is saying that Aaron’s blessing is a promise from God himself. The priest is actually speaking on behalf of God, speaking God’s own words for Him! In other words, we should think of it as saying, “the Lord WILL bless and keep you…” etc. This blessing is a statement from the divine one who controls our future, controls heaven and earth, and holds each of us in the palm of His hand.