geezeronthequad: Bless the Lord…No, really! Bless the Lord…Psalm 103:1
I said, “If you do anything like that to us, we’ll kill you in your sleep.” My wife quickly jumped in. “No, we won’t. We’ll kill you while you’re awake so you’ll know who did it!” What provoked this outburst of parental affection? Our kids asked that question that invariably comes up (No, not “Where did I come from?” Buying them from Romanian Gypsies at a rest stop on the interstate or a pack of wolves leaving them by our tent flap on a camping trip worked for us for a long time. Keep both in mind.). How did the two of you get together? We met doing ministry at the small Christian college we both attended. The school rented an old house right between the black downtown and poor white neighborhoods and said, “Have fun kids. Do Jesus stuff.” Gay and I went door-to-door meeting families; I could run fast enough (then) to divert the dogs from chasing her and she could beat down any local thugs who harassed us. We decided we were a good team for more than just college outreach. We met in September and by December 2, we were engaged.
I called my Dad to tell him that I was engaged to a girl I’d only known three months and that he and Mom had never met and barely heard of. The conversation sort of went like this.
“David, that’s great but promise me you’ll finish your degree down there.”
“Dad, we have that all figured out. We’re going to leave here, get married this summer and start seminary next fall.”
“Let’s talk about it when you come home for Christmas. But at least promise me you’ll finish out the year.”
“We have that all figured out too. You know all that money we had banked up for this next semester? We took it all out of the bank and used it to buy the engagement and wedding rings. But I’ve got a job on campus and everything’s going to be fine!”
Long pause…”We’ll talk about that when you get home too.”
I don’t remember how many garbage cans I scrubbed. All I saw was the glow of those rings on her finger; nothing else mattered.
Worship has more than a splash of this kind of thing to it; two persons swallowed up in love with each other each other and one of them is God. However things fall out from there just doesn’t matter. “Bless the Lord…” The Old Testament makes a big deal of blessing. And so do we. I want blessed. Don’t you? Think of the alternative. Being cursed is on nobody’s “bucket list”! And I don’t care whether it comes through others or from God Himself. Directly or indirectly, all blessing comes from God. But here’s the catch; we primarily think of blessing as something to get instead of to give. That’s why Psalm 103 is a cool breeze to the heart.
The word meaning “to bless” swirls together two beautiful ideas like peanut butter and chocolate. One describes “kneeling down”. Sometimes we do that because we drop something, sometimes because we’re forced. But this describes a deliberate willing to kneel because we’re compelled to acknowledge the intrinsic value and magnificence of someone overshadowing us in quality, character and/or beauty. It’s a humbling that dignifies the kneeler as they kneel. It lifts us as we bend. The second idea involves doing good to another, not so much in ways that they want, but in ways that are appropriate to what they need. Nobody can cause as much damage as a person wanting to help who has no idea as to what needs to be done. Good intentions cause big explosions. “Blessing” means hitting the bulls-eyes in the deep places of another with laser-like precision.
Because God loves us, He has given us the amazing capacity of bringing delight to His heart. We can bless Him. My children and grandchildren don’t have to do anything to stoke deep joy in my heart. They don’t have to perform or do things for me. First, they just look at me with light all over their faces. Then they put my name with it. Hearing “Grandpa” come out of a child’s mouth aimed at me is good medicine. Then “I love you”. To hear that pushed our way by someone who really means it make us kings who don’t need thrones or castles. The Creator of the cosmos and beyond, the God of the burning bush and Red Sea, the Jesus of healings, the Sermon on the Mount and the Cross, the Spirit of Pentecost – all ripple with joy at our undivided attention through this thing called worship (individual or corporate). And one never knows what crazy things we might end up doing or where we might end up going or who might disagree or challenge us. Two in love don’t care about things like that.
Bless the Lord…
By the way, you might be interested to know that we killed neither of our children. They’ve since married in a kinder, gentler manner than their parents and have given us seven grandchildren. But we’ve seen flecks of whitewater in those seven growing chunks of the image of God that should wash away any boredom from our future. Looks interesting…bless the Lord.
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Please return your seat to the upright position and give your infrared night vision goggles to the attendant as you exit to the rear. See you next post at geezeronthequad.com.