Tune: Old 100th / All People That On Earth Do Dwell
Blessing God – what a strange idea. How on earth might we, mere mortals, flawed and broken people, be able to bless God in heaven? Yet that is the invitation at the heart of this Psalm – come bless the Lord.
The invitation comes to us ordinary, work-a-day people – as servants (note we are not slaves). Working with God, talking and listening with God through the day and the night. We are invited to lift our hands from their busyness towards heaven and bless God.
I love that this song version of Psalm 134 pairs our act of blessing God with God’s act of blessing us. Drawing on the blessing God gives Aaron to share with the people, the second verse reminds us what blessing is. It is a radiant face shining on us – a sense of God deliberately looking at us and smiling. It is the gift of peace and unconditional love enacted in grace.
Perhaps we might compare this to when a parent smiles at their small child – and the child smiles back. A moment of benediction. Both gazing unashamedly into the eyes of the other in unconditional love through the grace of relationship. So here we are invited to bask in the lovinggaze of God and to return that gaze, resting in the grace-filled restored relationship as children of God.
May God bless us and keep us, May God’s face shine upon us and be gracious to us, May God’s face be turned towards us and give us peace.
May we lift our hands, faces and hearts towards God, Receive and return God’s love. May we turn our faces towards others, Radiating God’s peace and grace, That they may know they too are loved. Amen
Dr Sam Richards, serving as Head of Children’s and Youth Work, Messy Church team, Chalgrove