Aloha Friday Message – October 5, 2012 – Bless the Lord O my soul

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Read it online here, please.

KJV Psalm 103:1 {A Psalm of David.}Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: 3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;

NIV Psalm 103:1 Of David.Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 2 Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits– 3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,

NAB Psalm 103:1 Of David. I Bless the LORD, my soul; all my being, bless his holy name! 2 Bless the LORD, my soul; do not forget all the gifts of God, 3 Who pardons all your sins, heals all your ills,

NLT Psalm 103:1 A psalm of David.Praise the LORD, I tell myself; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. 2 Praise the LORD, I tell myself, and never forget the good things he does for me. 3 He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.

The liturgy this weekend in many churches will focus on marriage and the pledges given to God and to each other by men and women who share the sacrament of holy matrimony. That is a topic I would love to write about because it is such a perfect exemplar of the wisdom of God’s Creation and God’s Plan. The readings come from Genesis 2, Psalm 128, Hebrews 2, and Mark 10. All of these passages make references to the blessings inherent in a happy and consecrated relationship between a man and a woman. It is just one of the countless ways God blesses us in ways that show us – by example – how his universe and his law work together to make our lives replete with blessings. But, I received an alternate set of directions for today’s post, and that’s it at the top of the page – Psalm 103:1-3. So here we go!

I’ve always been a little uncomfortable about “blessing God.” There is nothing that is superior to God, and no superlative that can adequately describe him. We are as different as a quark and a quasar. A quark is a part of a part of a particle.  A single quark does not even carry a full charge, so the only time we can find them is when two or three are gathered together to form a hadron or a meson. Most of us don’t know what any of these things are, yet they are pieces of the elementary particles that hold together the universe. There are scores of these subatomic particles and they are the sub-elemental building blocks in everything from hydrogen atoms to quasars. Quasars are incompressibly large, heavy, powerful, and far, far, FAR away. However we still have evidence they are real and that their existence affects every moment of our lives on this small speck in the cosmos we call Earth, in the even smaller speck we call earthlings, an in the smaller still specks we call the molecules and atoms that comprise our bodies. Quarks and Quasars are so very different, but they are also closely related and can in some strange way be parts of each other and each other’s existence yet still be completely separate. The idea of me blessing God seems to play out something like a quark brightening up a quasar.

We see these words “bless the Lord” in scripture so many times, especially in the Psalms (see Psalms 16, 34, 103, and 134 for samples). When I think of a blessing, I usually think of a gift, a really nice gift, which God has given me. “Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts ….” He blesses me with food, shelter, love, friendships, knowledge, skills, abilities, feelings, beautiful surroundings, temporal comforts, and (best of all) salvation. Anything I have I have only because it came from him so anything I return to him was already his in the first place. How is that a blessing? How can something lesser give a gift that makes the Infinite greater? Or maybe I just don’t understand what “bless” means.

Here I go again, looking at the real words used in the real Bible so I can understand the real meaning. The word used in verses 1 and 2 is the Hebrew word “barak” which means “bless.” It looks like this: ברך barak {baw-rak’} Among the synonyms are bless, salute, blessing, praise, kneel down, congratulate, kneel, and to be adored. Now, that makes more sense! If I add all of that together, I come up with “worship” or “honor” or “reverence.” I am not trying to confer my favor on God. I am offering him my recognition of his omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. I am acknowledging he is God and I am not. I am extolling, praising, exalting, applauding, revering, lauding, and glorifying God. And there’s another one of those words! Glorify God. God is the penultimate glory. Q: What can my puny existence add to his Glory? A:  Nothing. Q: What does God need from me? A:  Nothing. Q: Then what can I give to God? A: Everything.

Huh?

Q:If he’s got everything and he made everything and he is everything and he’s in everything and everything I have comes from him … how can I give him everything?!?   A:  By extolling, praising, exalting, applauding, revering, lauding, glorifying, and thanking God. That is how we bless God.

There is also the idea throughout the Bible that to bless and happy are the same thing. “Blessed are the poor in spirit …, blessed are those who mourn…, blessed are the meek…, blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness….” We know those blessings mean “happy are those who….” So I believe we can also bless God in the sense that we make him happy. He does everything he can to make us happy, so we surely can think of some things we can do to make him happy. In fact, we have a whole Book full of ways to make him happy. One of the best ways he recommends is to make him happy by loving each other because he loves us and because we love him. Love. My love. That is something I can give to God that is mine to give. And it’s just what he wants, too. Note I did not say it’s just what he needs; he doesn’t need anything from me; but, he will accept my love. He will accept your love.

And do you know what else? He will accept our love! When you and I take the love he has given us, break it up, multiply it, and share it with each other . . . we can give that multiplied love to him too. When we bless the Lord it is because we have understood that we are blessed by him. When we understand that blessing, we understand better how to recognize the blessings he keeps heaping into our lives. We feel grateful, so grateful that we bless him for his goodness.

You can see how it goes – round and round and round increasing in size with every round. He wants us to use what he gives us, not store it up, not throw it away, and certainly not forget about it. Here’s a little quote from MBN member SR: When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, “I used everything you gave me.” That, Beloved, will bless the Lord because you did not forget all his benefits; you made full use of them in gratitude and love for his everlasting kindness.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved. I love you!

 

Share-A-Prayer

††  For Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani <~> Thank you for his deliverance and release! Please also come to the aid of his attorney, Mohammed Ali Dadkhah who was recently imprisoned in a dangerous prison with a nine-year sentence.

†††    For LB, beloved mother of PB-T and grandmother of NM. Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and may Eternal Light shine upon her.

††  †  For CR still having difficult recovering from a massive stroke, and Fr. VM still recovering from a nearly fatal head injury, as well as KW dealing with physical therapy and much pain after hip surgery.

††  †  For CN, TO, JR, PB, BL, CO and all our friends and family caught up in any form of addiction, but particularly chemical addictions we pray for wisdom and strength to break into recovery mode and stay there.

††  †  For all our friends, benefactors, godchildren, grandchildren, spiritually adopted brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, siblings, parents, and everyone else who blesses us with their love, we pray that we will all bless the Lord with all that is within us – including HIS love.

 

 

 

THIS JUST IN: 2 Chronicles 7:14 – If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Beloved, pray for our local, national, and international leaders past, present, and future! Vote for Morality in Government.

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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