Psalm 103 calls for blessing not only for us but from us and from all of creation. We are to bless the Lord as the Lord blesses us. In addition, we ought to be sending out blessings to all people not just in God’s name but in our own. “God bless you” has been a familiar phrase throughout my life but what has sounded like shorthand for that (“Bless you!”) has recently gained new significance for me.
John Newton (www.healthbeyondbelief.com), on his webcasts for ancestral clearing, ends his conversations with people who call in by saying, “Bless you” and many respond, sometimes in addition to “Thank you, John,” with “Bless you!” I thought perhaps that John was just being sensitive to all the ways callers might name their “higher power” rather than God – as is clearly true in his conversations. This morning, however, in a commentary on Psalm 103, I was suddenly brought to a fuller awareness of the power of that phrase of blessing, as parents who bless their children as they send them off to school have known for generations. I’m grateful for that inspirational moment (a gift of Pentecost, perhaps?) and offer two paragraphs in hopes that some of you may share in my experience.*
The word barakah is Hebrew for blessing. 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.
The subject of blessing is much neglected in modern theological and spiritual thought. It does, however, continue to have a strong role in both contemporary Jewish and Muslim thinking. In both traditions blessing is a power that flows and is available to human beings. The source of this energy is transcendent and is not subject to the normal laws of cause and effect. It can flow backwards in time, for example, or appear instantly across great distances in time and space. It is as though the universe is a body with barakah (blessing) flowing through its veins. Envision this if you can, and open yourself to its flow. (Ancient Songs Sung Anew, p.260)
*A visit to John Newton’s website may be in order for your further information and inspiration.
Bless you all today!