Saturday, December 05, 2009

Blessing in the name of God

[] 5 Dec 2009--One of the most significant activities of ministers of the gospel is their opportunity to bless people in the name of Christ. Of course the act of blessing is not restricted to ministers, in that every Christian should bless others. They should bless (rather than curse) even their enemies (Luke 6:28) and they should bless God (James 3:9).

The concept of blessing in the mouth of a minister carries with it special weight. In the Old Testament the priests of Aaron’s line had a special blessing for the people (Numbers 6:24-26). Their blessing placed God’s name upon the Israelites and conveyed God’s blessing to them (Numbers 6:27). Thus in our liturgies the blessing of the minister holds a significant place in the life of the people of God. The presbyter is charged at his ordination with the words: “whose sins you forgive they are forgiven; whose sins you retain they are retained.” Of course the minister has no inherent power to forgive sins, any more than he has an inherent power to bless. Rather it is in the office of elder in the church of Christ, a minister of God’s word and sacraments, that authorises him to bless in the name of the triune God. The blessing is no trite mantra, nor a merely human device. It is nothing less than the blessing of God almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

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