May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
— An old Irish blessing
I love the idea of blessing – how the light of God shines on and from within people. But recently, I had the chance to experience a living beatitude when I spoke with the Rev. Stan Cardwell and his wife Michelle.
They had just returned from Uganda, where they visited with some of the boy soldiers who had experienced incalculable atrocities after being abducted and forced to serve in Joseph Koney’s Lord’s Resistance Army.
The Cardwell’s have soul-stirring stories, which will appear in the July 29 UMConnection. But one thing that particularly touched me was when Stan spoke about how he intentionally provided these young men, most of whom were orphaned, with a parent’s blessing.
He and Michelle laid their hands upon the boys and emphatically told them they were children of God, beloved and extraordinary, and that God has a special destiny in store for them.
Like Abraham with Isaac, the Cardwells drew God’s eyes upon these boys and declared their sacred worth.
Many fathers today don’t bless their children, Cardwell said. I had never thought about it, but my mind started reeling with the way some people’s lives might change if they were blessed and led to believe that God did indeed know them and have a destiny in mind for them.
Often, in today’s world, we think of blessing as praise. But blessing also means to make sacred, to infuse something with holiness. To use a wonderful, old-fashioned word, to bless to is “to hallow.”
In Numbers 6:24-26, the priests bless the people: “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.”
Such words call us to become living “benedictions” – blessed and able. God bless.