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Remember Who You Are

December 26, 2016

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6: 24-26.)

God directed Moses to write the blessing in this week’s Old Testament reading[1] in the 15th century B.C. I have heard this ancient Jewish blessing almost every Sunday of my life, since it is the benediction used in Lutheran churches and many other Christian churches at the end of the service. God instructed Moses to tell his priest brother, Aaron, and his sons to use this blessing, “So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel and I will bless them” (Numbers 6: 27). The first Sunday of the year is a good time to remember that God’s blessing will remain with you throughout the coming months and years.

Two weeks ago, we discussed the name of Jesus, and explained that there was no contradiction between the angel’s instruction to name the baby “Jesus,” and the Isaiah prophecy that “’they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us).” (Matthew 1: 21-23; Isaiah 7:14) because Immanuel is a description of Jesus’ nature. But it important to God that we are stamped with his name: “So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel and I will bless them.” (Numbers 6: 27). Before the congregants left the synagogues of ancient Israel, and before the congregants of today’s churches walk out the door, God wants to make sure that his blessing was on them and is on us—that we are stamped with his name. How comforting it is to know that God wants to continue to bless us as we go about our daily lives. That he will continue to be with us, he will continue to bless us. That he will continue to be merciful and gracious to us, and that he will give us his peace. That we are his children and that he is our heavenly Father.

It reminds me of a phrase used by many parents when a child leaves home for even a short period of time: “Remember who you are.” The phrase is a reminder to the child that he or she is a child of God, created in his image, and stamped with the cross of Christ. Stamped with the name of God. God wants you to remember that you belong to him when you go out in the world. He wants you to remember that he is right there with you. That he is the Father who loves you. The Father who is there when you are frightened or lonely. The Father who will answer your call and give you strength and courage. The Father who longs to bless you. The Father who longs to give you peace.

Remember who you are. You are a child of God.

Diane Cieslikowski Reagan



[1] The Scripture texts for this Sunday are Numbers 6:22-27; Galatians 3:23-29; Luke 2:21.

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