And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to give to set before the people. (Mark 6:41)
After he takes the loaves from the disciples, he blesses them. This is the second movement in the dance of faith. After God takes us to (and for) himself, he blesses us. It is a phrase that we hear all the time. In fact, it is one we hear so much that I'm afraid it has lost its meaning.
To bless someone is to invoke life into them. Dallas Willard said it so beautifully when he said, "Blessing is the projection of good into the life of another. It isn't just words. It is actually putting forth your will for the good of another person. You bless someone when you will their good under the invocation of God. You invoke God on their behalf to support the good that you will for them. This is the nature of blessing. It is what we are to receive from God and then give to one another." So after God takes us to (and for) himself, he blesses us. He speaks words of life and affection and goodness deep into our souls. It is this that inspires, renews, energizes, captures, and transforms us. God draws us tenderly to himself and infuses his goodness and love and affection into us by his Spirit.
Numbers 6:24-26 is maybe the most classic example of blessing. In Numbers 6 we find the blessing that Moses instructed his brother Aaron to place on the people of Israel. And what a blessing it is! "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." It's almost as if Moses is saying, "May God continuously bring his good into your life (bless). May me protect you and build his hedge of protection around (keep) you. May his face always shine upon you, transforming you more and more into his image, and causing your face, in turn, to shine with his glory. May his gracious favor be poured out upon you and well up within you. May the smile of his face (countenance) be ever upon you. And may he restore you to the wholeness (peace) you were intended for. Pretty great words, huh? God's words of life being infused into our very being.
So may we draw near to God and receive his blessing, this day and every day. And may we, in turn, bless others with the goodness and the life and the affection and the peace he has blessed us with.
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