Sadly, it wasn’t until my 30s that I became an avid reader and rememberer of the Good Book. There was so much that was all in there that I never thought about being in there, and usually when I made an unwise decision, it was because of something I didn’t know was in there or I couldn’t remember that was in there.
One of the biggest “wows” was on the day of my first (doomed) wedding. The church didn’t have a bridal suite, so I dressed at my maternal grandmother’s and rode to the church with my dad. After the bridal party had entered, there was a pause, and my dad did something I will never forget.
I am a charismatic, and he was a charismatic, but he was never openly charismatic. I was always so mad at him because I felt he should have pushed the Holy Spirit more and been more open about the Third Person of the Trinity.
But in that moment, he did something so charismatic–he reached his shaking, faltering hands over my head and said, “I am going to do something I have never done before. I am going to give you the Abramic blessing. Whom you bless I will bless, whom you curse I will curse.”
He rocked my world. I was thinking about bolting and asking for help, and in that moment, he gave me the one thing I hungered for… a shared charismatic identity. The satisfied hunger so rocked my world I couldn’t think, and my mind was calm, but it was an ill-fitting calm. He took me down the aisle then, or maybe I was stunned and leading the charge, and the rest is (fractured) history.
I had always thought dad had written something clever in advance. The only clever thing he had done was remember the blessing God gave Abram (later Abraham) in Genesis 12.
Later on, somewhere around five or ten years ago, I learned about the Aaronic blessing in Numbers 6. It was so beautiful to me; it was almost like God was an Irishman at heart the way it rolled off the tongue: The LORD bless you and keep you. The LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you. The LORD turn His face toward you and give you peace.
This was the one that gave me an inner peace. I always felt the other haunting and jolting and unsettling. I mean, they are both God and God’s Word and God speaking. However, it wasn’t until this year that I understand the difference.
For me, the difference lies in who (or Who) has the power to act.
The first, the Abramic blessing, makes God’s decisions rest on me and my tongue. My actions and my word choices bring consequences on the listener far above what I am capable of imagining; this blessing says, “I’ve got the power, and God is gonna back me.” It’s almost a bully stick. And since I am usually a control freak, it fills me with a thrill of ultimate, absolute power. It puts too much on me, my power, and my decisions. Definitely not good for this cracked, earthen vessel to contain.
In the Aaronic blessing, it is all up to God. God gives the blessing and keeps the person. God looks favorably on the person and gives great grace. God chooses to look at the person and give peace, all encompassing peace that I and the rest of the world cannot give. It means that as much as I love you to speak the blessing on you I have to trust God to execute my request in His way and His time. I have to speak the words and trust God to act.
We each must choose who we will be and how we will act. For me, I know I am too broken to make the decisions my Heavenly Father would make in choosing words to build or destroy. I have to choose to signal my intent and then put the burden on Him to decide.
For me, for my flaws, for my strengths, I know I need to let God be God and when I choose to bless, I need to follow the Aaronic model and let God have all the action. You must know yourself and make the same choice.
Choose wisely, young grasshopper.