“Christ is risen!”
“He is risen indeed!”
Pastor Justin stands at the front with three sets of parents, each accepting the holy joys and responsibilities of parenthood, the gifts of pain and delight.
The parents promise and the congregation promises and then Justin takes little Elliott in his arms. “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.” The child is happy enough, looking all around, content in the safety of arms. “The LORD lift the light of His countenance upon you and give you peace, this day and always.” Baby Elliott gazes straight up into Justin’s face as though drawn by the light, turning like ivy leaves or the whole rosy bloom of a tulip toward the nearest window.
I smile. And I watch little River lift her face to Justin’s at the same words—"The LORD lift the light of His countenance upon you"—turning to face the light as though reaching for it, called by it. The curtain has been pulled back and for a moment I’ve glimpsed again the truth at the center of the universe, God's heart always pouring itself out in blessing, His face shining on us the purest of love. His delight, His longing, awakening in us a responsive seeking of His face.
“Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion.” (Isaiah 30:18)
Baby Arthur sleeps right through the blessing, at peace in the light of the face turned toward his.
Taking it deeper:
What difference might it make in your day to know that the LORD’s face is turned toward you in blessing?