Isn’t It Aaronic?

This Sunday is the First Sunday of Christmas.  Or, you can go crazy and celebrate the Name of Jesus.  Augsburg Fortress and their bulletin covers made the call for me: Name of Jesus it is.

I’m pretty excited, because it turns out that on the Name Day of Jesus you get to read from the book of Numbers!  Trust me that this does not happen very often.  (Pro Tip: as you might suspect, the book of Numbers is mostly about . . . numbers).  This week, we get to hear the Aaronic Blessing, which is used in both Christian and Jewish worship services today.  You know the one:

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.

So they shall put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.

It’s a good blessing, right?  In this blessing (Aaronic because God tells Moses to tell Aaron to say it to the people), God names and claims God’s people.  God offers protection, grace, and peace.  It’s a real blessing: not just giving permission or good wishes, but doing something for the people who are blessed.  Here’s how Frederick Buechner describes it in his Wishful Thinking:

In the biblical sense, if you give me your blessing,

you irreversibly convey into my life not just something

of the beneficent power and vitality of who you are

but something also of the life-giving power of God

in whose name the blessing is given.

In many Christian worship services, we hear this blessing at the end of the service.  It sends us out in the knowledge that God goes with us.  I think it’s also a good way to start our days, and to start the new year.

So: 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.  (Yes, you. )


I apologize for the cringe-worthy post title.  I just could not resist referencing this 90s classic, even though few of the lyrics are actually, you know . . . ironic.  


Filed under Ministry Matters

3 responses to “Isn’t It Aaronic?

  1. I thought the title was marvelous, as is the subject matter. In your denomination, aren’t you just now singing Christmas carols rather than the season leading up to the eve/day itself? It makes better sense to do that, I think, but man, do I love singing some “O Holy Night” on a daily basis. 🙂

    Great post. Makes me happy all over.


    • Thanks, Jamie! We do our best to wait till the season of Christmas (starting with Christmas Eve) to sing Christmas carols–there are so many great Advent hymns to sing first! Christmas does encroach, though–we have the kids’ Christmas program on the fourth Sunday of Advent, so we sing carols then, and bigger churches in our area have multiple Christmas programs on different Sundays of Advent. I am sad for them. But, I sing the Christmas carols at home as soon as Thanksgiving hits. Don’t tell.


  2. Pingback: Blessed Body | Never Done It That Way Before

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