Monday, February 27, 2017
The Secret Garden Chronicles: Moments of Grace ~ A Benediction - Updated
2/27/17 Update: As I sat in the Secret Garden today I kept thinking about this place...the Methodist Youth Camp (now called the Warren W. Willis Camp), where I first learned how important it is to set aside a special time each day to reflect/meditate on God's Word and focus solely on the Lord. We would start each day at camp at the "silver benches" on the lake shore, and have our morning devotions. Read on for more about this...especially see the note at the end of this post with the picture of the cross on the lake.
Here is the original post written on 1/9/2016:
"The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
and be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
and give you peace."
When I was a young girl...many moons ago, I spent several weeks each summer and many weekend retreats at the nearby Methodist Youth Camp, now known as the Warren W. Willis Camp, named after the director who served there for so many years. Upon my graduation from high school, I spent the entire summer there as a camp counselor...an experience that I count as the turning point in my life. It was during that particular summer that I totally recommitted my life to Christ, and made some decisions regarding my future that forever changed the direction in which I was headed. Not long after that I met my husband and God subsequently led us into full time ministry, and the rest is history. (A long story for another time).
What has all of that information to do with the above verses from Numbers Six? Well, let me tell you. The verses above are also known by Bible scholars as the "Aaronic Benediction", when the Lord spoke to Moses and told him to (in verse 23)
"Speak to Aaron (his brother) and his sons, saying,
'This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel."
This "benediction" became a way to bless not only the children of Israel, but countless followers of Christ throughout the ages. In our youth group, we always closed our gatherings and meetings with this particular benediction, as we crossed our arms and joined hands in a circle with our entire group, so that we were one in our purpose and prayer and blessing.
This little ritual always stuck with me as being a very special moment...
to be blessed by the Lord...
to be kept by the Lord...
to feel His radiant face shining upon me...
to know His Gracious GRACE was being bestowed upon me...
to know the beauty of His Divine countenance beholding my face...
and to be given His PEACE, which passes all understanding.
Wow! What a glorious moment of grace! I didn't fully comprehend how precious that moment was at the time. I just recited the words from memory with the others, not realizing that speaking those words was an actual blessing being spoken upon my own life and purpose. God was literally blessing me with His face, His grace, His Divine Countenance, and His peace. How beautiful...How marvelous...Such amazing GRACE.
Perhaps you are in need of a Benediction of Grace spoken over your life right now. I invite you to speak these words out loud, to yourself, or as you join hands with another who may be in need of a blessing today. Practice praying these words and claim them for yourself. God intended you to hear them and to allow His radiant face to shine upon you...to feel His grace and peace washing over you...and to be blessed. Amen.