Tag Archives: Aaronic Blessing

THE CHRISTMAS CAROL (11 Days and Counting)

“The memory of a single hymn [carol] learned in childhood has often proved decisive in the spiritual crises of later years.”~Historian Ernest Edwin Ryden
 
As much as I love all my churches that have adapted to the “Christian-band-stage-presentation” format, I still miss the formality of the church in which I grew up. I miss the “standing-on-holy-ground” reverent quiet that seemed to circle the sanctuary even when I was all alone to cry or sing or pray or just sit in silent wonder. I miss the hymns – the carols – that everyone sang every year – in harmony. I miss the recitations of the Psalms, the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, the Aaronic blessing said from the back of the church.
 
As I watched President Bush’s church funeral service, the sniffles tickled my throat with memories.
🎄My mom’s many solos.
🎄The smell of pipe smoke as I leaned into my dad’s side and closed my eyes.
🎄The organ my God-mother tried and tried to teach me to play (the feet couldn’t keep up with the hands).
🎄The instruments that would accompany the choir on special occasions – played by people/peers I knew and admired.
🎄“O Holy Night” – my first childhood solo with a choir.
🎄The many years as a soloist for a variety of city churches and even a synagogue or two which helped pay my way through college and those first years as a teacher.
🎄Walking down the aisle by myself to marry the Hubby.
🎄Directing my own kidlets’ programs in that same childhood church – and a few others.
🎄But the strongest memories are those of the voices – mom,dad, grandma, Hubby, kidlets’ voices – tickling my ears as we prayed – as we spoke the psalms – as we sang the carols – as we stood side-by-side in God’s presence and felt His spirit bind us closer than close.
 
On nights when the Christmas Spirit seems far away, in these days when disunity rips at my edges and the seams of our society, it is the carols that unites my heart with hope. I don’t even have to listen to a CD or the radio or – (you get the idea). The words are there – even the harmonies. All I have to do is close my eyes and hear yesterday’s voices singing those familiar words in my heart.
 
“O Holy Night!
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appear’d and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary soul rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!” ~John S. Dwight the-nativity-greg-olsen (Greg Olsen artwork)

BREADCRUMBS II

“Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me…” ~Jn 11:41b-42a

Sleeping-in on a dreary, rainy morning, picking up the novel of dujour, and snuggling under the covers has always been one of my favorite things to do. It just such a rarity these days that it has become a treasure chest memory of days long gone bye-bye.

First off, it is Sunday. I didn’t need to be sleeping in today. I needed to be up for church this morning. Didn’t happen. Instead my internal alarm clock that usually wakes me 15 minutes before I need to be awake, didn’t go off in my head until an hour and a half later. sigh.

Second, the book dujour that always has rested by my side during the night has been replaced by bouncy, smiley dogs. Dogs that are generally staring at me, tongues out, warm, smelly breath in my face, ready to drag me from sound sleep into their active world before I have even whispered my morning prayers.

In other words, my day didn’t go as I planned. So I do what I tend to do when things go awry, I followed the breadcrumbs. Went to my church via internet and worshiped with the people I usually worship with – only from my recliner. In fact, I could even share my pastor’s sermon with you tonight via YouTube. We live in amazing technological times even though the world often seems darker than ever before – literally and figuratively.

Later in the day, I followed the breadcrumbs back to John 11 as I have done most of this week. The last time I wrote, Jesus wept. He wept with compassion for Martha and Mary’s sorrow. He wept for Lazarus who had lain entombed for the past four days . He wept for His people who needed grace; grace that only He would provide. He wept as the foreshadowing covered them all in front of the tomb.

Then, He prayed.

A simple prayer. “Abba, I thank You that You have heard me…” Then in the same poor in spirit attitude that he taught in the beginning of his ministry, he continued his prayer. A prayer that was filled with faith in his Father’s love and mercy. “And I know that you always hear me, but for the sake of this crowd that is standing here I said these things, that they may believe that you have sent me.” ~v.42

Today, the breadcrumbs led me to see the full circle of Rabbi Yeshua’s prophecy from the beginning of chapter 11, “This sickness is not of death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified because of it.” ~v. 4, to Lazarus walking out of the tomb.

And then – – why am I surprised??? – – another breadcrumb appears on my path. God is good and loves to drop breadcrumbs on my path, which is really great since I would be way overwhelmed with a full loaf of bread dropped under my feet.

In any case, my pastor was really stringing pearls today from OT to NT and back again. As he spoke, the treasure chest of memories opened up. Singing this blessing in my church choir – in my high school choir – with the All Ohio Youth Choir – with my college choir – on the marching band bus – on choir tour buses – in cathedrals – under bridges – small groups – large groups – mixed quartets – college party nights under the stars (seriously – that’s the kind of parties I went to in college – and yes, in all other ways it was a typical college party from the 70’s)…

God blessed me many times over today, and more than I deserved. Such is grace. I am so glad this day didn’t go as I had originally planned. God always does a much better job in the planning department.

‘ “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” ’Num 6:24-26

PRAYING FOR PASTORS #10

There are dreams and then there are DREAMS. It has been fun to watch the career choices that my former students have chosen.  Some always knew what they wanted to do and followed through on it.  Others found that dream later.  For whatever reason, I’ve found myself thinking about those dreams that we follow when we choose a life path.

When I was little I dreamed of being a vet. After all, I was always was pretending to be a horse.  Flying over fences in one jump.  Changing into a human when ever I needed to do so.  Running free across the playground and up the hill beyond the reaches of any teacher or foe.  But spelling veterinarian kinda made me nervous.  I figured if I couldn’t spell the job title, it might be too hard.  I was right – chemistry kicked that idea completely to the curb when I was a junior in high school.

Then there was the dream of dancing. Sugar plums.  Swans.  Broadway.  Jazz.  I loved moving my body anyway I wanted. Letting the music flow through me then releasing it into the world in a completely different form.  However, the knee broke, and my 10 year old self cried as I watched that dream spin off the theatre stage and into the storage chest of memories.

There were many other dreams in between.  I was one of those who stumble around a lot before I figure it out. Yet somehow, when I became a teacher, I realized  that one dream was the dream that had always been a part of everything I did.  Playing school with my dolls.  Playing school with my friends.  Teaching friends and younger neighbors how to twirl a baton.  Teaching Sunday school and Bible school.  Teaching disabled kids how to swim and enjoy the water (while I  hated the water intensely and still do). Life experiences that should have given me a clue, but I missed them all and just stumbled into teaching.  

Godwinks are beyond my understanding, but I love them.

“And Yeshua said to them, “Come after me, and I shall make you to become fishers of men.~Matt 4:19

Tonight’s prayer for pastors and their spouses circles around those life dreams we all have. Praying that you continue to see yourselves as “fishers” in the stormy waters of life – that you continue to  hold firm to the course the WORD set 5778 years ago – continue to let His light be in your eyes every time you look out at the “fish” He has placed in your waters – continue to wake up in the morning with His praise on your lips, and wonder at where you will be “fishing” today – continue to let His hands uphold you as you mend the broken nets or the aging boat that carries you forth into any storms that cross the horizon – continue to sing His blessing over all those fish that have chosen to jump in your nets and even those who have chosen to swim the other way.

Tonight, I can almost hear Yeshua praying this ancient blessing over you as I imagine He prayed it any times in His life.  

“The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.”~Num 6:22-27  [google images]