Aloha Friday Message – October 2, 2015 – Bless God!

1540AFC100415 – Bless God!

Read it online here, please.

Psalm 103:1-3 {Of David} –

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and do not forget all his benefits—
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your 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 on October 4, 2015 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 subatomic 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 incomprehensibly massive, heavy, powerful, and far, far, FAR away; they kind of look like stars when seen through a telescope, and they emit colossal amounts of energy.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, 68, 104, 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 constantly 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 someone who is clearly insignificant 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, give thanks, 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, and Omnibenevolence. 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. So that makes me wonder …

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 created 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 blessed 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 called the Bible which is 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 even though I received it first from him (please follow this link to 1 John 4:19 to see what I mean). 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.

BlessTheLordMySoul_smAnd 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 his Gifts 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.

I want to close with Adam’s words of thanks and praise to God when he first met Eve. We can find that in Genesis 2:22-25 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
this one shall be called Woman,
for out of Man this one was taken.”

24 Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.

God had created animals out of the clay even as Adam was created. When God saw that none of those were suitable for a companion and helpmeet for the man, he took part of the man and made of that a partner for him. Adam liked the change! He took one look at Eve and said, “at last” I have a suitable companion. That joy in seeing Eve was a blessing for God. It made God happy to see Adam happy, and I dare say Eve was happy to see Adam as well. She was, quite literally, “made for him.” Talk about love at first sight! But, as we well know, later those two came to a rough patch in the road. Maybe it had something to do with the quality of materials used to create them?

Man comes from dirt, and – as I have often said here – that pretty well defines his character – dirt. Woman comes from dirt that had been improved by making it a living being; woman was created from the flesh of the man. Woman, it could be said, was created from better ingredients, not just dirt, but improved dirt. Borrowing from Papa John Pizza a little – “Better Ingredients. Better People.” Men – who come from dirt, remember – have a hard time accepting that “first” is not directly-equal to “better.” I am reminded of “The Diaries of Adam and Eve” as translated by Mark Twain:

Adam: Dear Diary. This new creature with the long hair is a good deal in the way. It is always hanging around and following me about. I don’t like this: I am not used to company. I wish it would stay with the other animals. (To himself) Cloudy today, wind in the east, think we shall have rain. We? Where did I get that word? I remember now, the other creature uses it.

When a married couple learns that the pronoun WE is the appropriate pronoun for a couple, that is when God is also praised, because that is when God’s intentions for Man and Woman come together. They are “one flesh” and – in many ways it seems – also one soul if everything is working well. I cordially invite you to look back with me to February 14, 2011 for a special message about how that works for Crucita and me!

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

Remember this?

GOD ≡ LIGHT ≡ LOVE ≡ TRUTH ≡ WAY ≡ LIFE ≡ ETERNAL ≡ MERCY ≡ GOD

Click on it!

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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Biblical languages inserts from Bible Hub (Bible Hub: Search, Read, Study the Bible in Many Languages) Visit at http://biblehub.com

 

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About Chick Todd

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

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