“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.” (Numbers 6:24-26)
When Easter morning comes for me in Eugene, it will already be the middle of the morning for the eastern part of the United States. And when you pause to think about it, while I was writing this, Easter morning had already come to Jerusalem; 6:32 am to be exact.
I have memories of Easter mornings long ago when the youth group I belonged to planned Easter sunrise services. One of the youth group members lived in the country and we met out there for our own sunrise services. Then I would go the regular church services. One memorable year I had been out late babysitter sitting night before Easter. I got up early for the sunrise service, and then went to regular church services. I think that was one of the few days as a teenager that I took an afternoon nap. It feels like I have had a whole lifetime of Easters.
But Easter is more than just a specific day at a certain time. Easter is a Christian belief, a tenet of faith on which hangs most other faith practices. If one does not acknowledge and belief in Easter, Christianity is pretty empty. God as creator set about to bring into existence a creation that the Divine could interact with and with this creation fulfill the full definition of love. Easter was God’s way of bridging the presence of the Divine and God’s people by removing the sin from God’s people.
The verse for today is from Numbers chapter six. The verses form the blessing that Aaron and his sons were to use for the people of Israel. And since they were written early in Israelite history, one has to assume this blessing was used quite often and for a long time. However the purpose of Easter predates even this blessing.
It is a very good blessing though. The sign of a good blessing is that it can be used for many purposes. Used by Aaron and the early priesthood, then by Jewish rabbis and passed on to the early Christian church and down the long line of Christians to us.
Through the gift of Christ’s death and resurrection we are blessed and kept from eternal damnation. God shines on us and is gracious to us through the Messiah and the Holy Spirit. The Lord’s face is turned toward us watching over us daily. And our Lord God gives us peace shalom, and inspires us to pass it on to others. The Easter day may God fulfill this blessing in your life. Selah!