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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Today’s Reading | Psalm 67

May God be gracious to us and bless us
     and make his face to shine upon us,
that your way may be known upon earth,
     your saving power among all nations.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
     let all the peoples praise you.

Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
     for you judge the peoples with equity
     and guide the nations upon earth.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
     let all the peoples praise you.

The earth has yielded its increase;
     God, our God, has blessed us.
May God continue to bless us;
     let all the ends of the earth revere him. (NRSV)


Psalm 67 opens with a benediction, something we usually reserve for the end of the worship service.

This particular benediction is taken from Aaron’s benediction in the Torah, and its most striking imagery is “may the Lord cause his face to shine upon you.” We can be imaginative as to its meaning.

Like the warmth of the sun, may God’s face shine upon us and warm us, thawing us from the wintry retreat of isolation and fragmentation.

Like the life the light of the sun offers, may God’s face shine upon us, and give life to a creation beneath the frost of winter’s snow and also to us, who at times might feel like our souls are perishing. May the light of God’s love bring us life.

Finally, and for me most powerfully, God’s face shining upon us is more than divine favor; it is rather that others around us see this light shine on us, as we reflect it.

I recently saw the film Les Miserables. The film’s cinematography is beautiful, but the power of Victor Hugo’s magnum opus is that it allows us to see the struggle of law and grace and how Valjean and Javert each reflect this to the people with whom they deal. One of my favorite lines is found at the end, sung so quietly as to make one incline just a bit closer to truly hear: “to love another person is to see the face of God.”

My prayer then is that we might let the light of God’s love shine upon us so that we might reflect it to everyone around us.


Go forth into the world in love. May God be gracious unto you and make his face to shine upon you, so that you might reflect the love of God, and in this love, might see the face of God in others. Amen.

Written by Edwin Estevez, Pastoral Resident

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