Psalm 128: Blessing

Wednesday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

August 26, 2020

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 128 which describes what it means to be blessed by God. The psalm has only six verses, and when we read the whole thing, we get a picture of a man with a happy home, he and his family peacefully enjoying the labor of his hands.

The psalmist’s vision is very simple, and it is through that simplicity that blessing comes.

When our lives, our needs, our desires become too complex or cluttered, it is hard for blessing to reach us. We lose our capacity to experience the simple treasures of our lives when we become dulled by excess or the desire for it.

Psalm 128 offers some greats clues on how to deepen our gift of simplicity:

  • Take time to let yourself be awed by God – in nature, in good people, in the wonders of your own life.
  • Imitate that beauty and reverence in your actions.

Blessed are all who fear (are awed) the LORD,
and who walk in God’s ways.

  • Work to build up the gifts of Creation.
  • Let your own labors magnify God’s generosity to all of us

What your hands provide you will enjoy;
you will be blessed and prosper

  • Seek a community who sustain your life, (for some a traditional family, for others a different pattern)
  • Reverence and appreciate them, and encourage new life for that community.

Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your home,
Your children like young olive plants
around your table.

Our consumeristic, power-hungry, and materialistic culture can confuse us about what is truly precious – what is truly BLESSING. Psalm 128 is reminding us of the TRUTH. Let’s listen.

In many homes and communities, members bless each other as they retire in the evening. I love to think of “Good night, God bless you” wrapping around the earth as it turns toward the western stars. 

Tonight, as we offer that accustomed benediction, let’s be very conscious of the the graceful simplicity we wish for our beloveds. And let us stretch to wish that blessing out over the whole world as we ourselves hope for peaceful rest.

Poetry: blessings the boats by Lucille Clifton

(at St. Mary’s)

may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear
may you kiss
the wind then turn from it
certain that it will
love your back        may you
open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that

Music: Sabbath Prayer from Fiddler on the Roof

May the Lord protect and defend you.
May He always shield you from shame.
May you come to be
In Israel a shining name.
May you be like Ruth and like Esther.
May you be deserving of praise.
Strengthen them, Oh Lord,
And keep them from the strangers’ ways.
May God bless you and grant you long lives.
(May the Lord fulfill our Sabbath prayer for you.)
May God make you good mothers and wives.
(May He send you husbands who will care for you.)
May the Lord protect and defend you.
May the Lord preserve you from pain.
Favor them, Oh Lord, with happiness and peace.
Oh, hear our Sabbath prayer.

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