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The Great Blessing

All of us know people who are in pain, turmoil, distress, depression, sadness. Every day, we learn of someone new who has been diagnosed with a serious disease. And then there are those we don’t know but read, hear, or learn about–those who are barely existing. The Syrian refugees come to mind. We could go on and on.

We want to help, but most of the time, there’s not much we can do. We can talk to them, write to them, and otherwise communicate with them. Words are pretty inadequate, though. Yet words are often all we have.

Depending on our relationship with those in need, we may be able to physically touch them, embrace them, hold them.  We may be able to cry or weep with them.

And, of course, we can pray with them and for them. We can lift our prayers together with the prayers of others to bless those who are in desperate straights.

In Numbers 6:22-26, we read: “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Tell Aaron and his sons, This is how you are to bless the Israelites.'” For me, this is the great blessing in Holy Scripture. It’s often used as a prayer or benediction at a funeral or memorial service, but it’s clearly meant to be used as a blessing to others at any time of need.

So as we end this week, let’s pray this ancient scripture to bless those who feel anguished, lost, hopeless:

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift his countenance upon you and give you peace.”

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