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I was startled by concepts in an alternate translation of Psalm 103 this morning. The first line was not so different from the lectionary reading but it made me feel the guilelessness of a child who might blurt it out: O God, I bless you with my whole heart and soul! Verse four caught me, however – again like a child now prancing with delight: I wear your love and mercy like a crown! The entire translation was delightful but the attending notes afforded me what I was looking for that opened up a new perspective in my relationship with God.

“The word barakah”, I read, “is Hebrew for blessing.” (No surprise there.) “It means something more in Hebrew than it does in English, a power and grace that flows from one being and place to another through the universe from its divine Source. Interestingly, it flows both ways, from the divine Source to ourselves, and from ourselves back to the Source, Apparently we are catalysts in the flow of blessing.”

Two questions of note follow: How is it possible to be a blessing, or one of the conduits through which it flows? and more to the point of my wondering, How is it possible to bless God? I’m used to asking for God’s blessing on others but can blessing the Divine, the Almighty One be efficacious in the same powerful, gracious way as blessing other beings? How does the understanding (or at least the acceptance) of that flow of blessing alter my view on things or the way in which I wear that crown of love and mercy that is God’s gift to me?