I hope Summer is going well for everyone so far. It’s been one ride of a year. A year with much change. Much thought. Much that has been brought to the surface that has needed to be discussed for years, decades, and longer. It’s important in the craziness, depth, and intensity that we keep ourselves centered on what matters most. As a Christian, for me that is Christ. It is His Word and what He created me to be here for. It is about co-creating with Him a life in which I use my voice well and write what He has placed in my heart. It is about loving others and living a life in which I know when my time comes that I left NOTHING on the table.
Part of this mission to live with leaving nothing on the table is a focus on keeping things simple. I don’t want to get so caught up in my plans and thinking that I write the script. I’ve done this before and it’s not fun when life doesn’t cooperate with what I’ve written. Instead, I have enjoyed living the past 2 years in a state of prayer and creation in which I truly ask God each day what there is for me. I ask Him to open my eyes to see the people in my life who need me, who I can connect with that day to make the day the best it can be. To hear the words I need to ensure I don’t miss out on anything that is purposed for my perfect life. Some days, I mess up. Some days, I do well. Regardless, I love knowing that I am not living anymore focused on what is way out in the future but what is there for me today.
In his sermon this past week, Pastor Steven shared the background of how the song “The Blessing” came to be. It’s a powerful story for those of you who feel that time is passing you by and that you are behind schedule. Sometimes God’s schedule isn’t your schedule. As I listened to the story about how it came to be, it encouraged me about where I am in my life. During this time of being stuck inside, versus choosing to be inside, I have been going back to scripture and thinking about God and His word more than ever. I have been very careful about who I listen to and what I am doing with the information that comes in. I’ve been thinking about the purpose of the gospel, the reason for the church, and my place within it during this time when people need the love of God and his Word as it was truly shared more than ever. There is just too much hate and opinion being thrown around.
As I went through the past week, I kept hearing God say “Keep it scriptural and keep it simple.” The song “The Blessing” does just that. It is based fully from scripture and is praying a blessing over all of us. It is not adding to the Word to say something that isn’t there. It is God’s heart to our ears. And I pray that as we finish out this year and as we walk into whatever our new excellence (or your new normal, if that’s what you want to call it) will look like, that we can remember His prayer for all of us is to feel His love in and presence. Blessing looks different to all of us. Blessing arrives differently to each of us. As we learn what it means to us, and realize it actually has little to do with finances and a certain standard of living but more with the attitude in which we receive and live, I pray we will each realize that regardless of where we can go, what our current reality is, what rights or privileges we have, what we feel we lack, how much further we have to go, that we can walk out each day with full appreciation for TODAY and all that is within it.
If we focus on keeping things scriptural and simple, we can’t go wrong. We would realize that when we follow what the gospel truly preaches, what the message Jesus taught truly said, we wouldn’t have a lot of room for opinion and argument, just a truly beautiful love for others that would create change, equity, and a world where we could celebrate humanity and that God loves us enough to create us all instead of feeling ashamed by what some of our brothers and sisters, fellow humans, are saying. When we look at why things were said and at the cultural contexts and apply them to today, we have no room for hatred but all the room for true, unconditional love that allows God to do the real work in people as they surrender to Him, not us.
I leave you with some of the renditions of the song and video responses that have blessed me.
This is the first version that was released at church one morning:
This version gave me chills!
And I loved this one too:
Here are some others examples of the response to this simple yet powerful song: