The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.
On Sunday at 12 Noon a video went live that has so far had over 1.4 million views in 3 days. It features Christians from different denominations across the UK singing out the words from Numbers 6.
Hearing this truth sung out by a united church was so overwhelmingly comforting. I immediately wanted to send the song to every contact on my phone. I did send it to many!
As an activist who spends all day on my feet serving customers, making houmous and embracing the busy schedule of café life, I have found the last 6 weeks and beyond very challenging. There have been tears, there have been meltdowns. I’ve been desperate to DO something.
It took a while for it to sink in that the most heroic thing would be to stay at home. So then I filled my time with other busy tasks: gutting out youthwork boxes, scrubbing the oven, reordering my wardrobe. Our local Mutual Aid Whatsapp group provided a little relief with a few opportunities to do some shopping for isolating neighbours.
But as we sat in our lounge taking part in our 6th Zoom Church service on Sunday, this video began to play and my heart started to swell. “The Lord bless you… and keep you… make his face to shine upon you… may his favour be upon you.” What if the most powerful thing I can do at this time is to be? To be in God’s presence and allow his love and goodness to wash over me and heal my hurting heart.
My granny died last year and lockdown has given me a lot of time to grieve. I have found it so hard in my busy schedule to truly connect with losing Granny and how much I miss her. Added to that, the lockdown has burdened me with pain thinking about other self-isolating family members and our vulnerable regulars at the café – are they ok? Did they get our letters? When will we see them again?
Watching how other community cafes and churches have responded to Covid19 and the lockdown we have found ourselves in has given me so many ideas and so much awe for the creativity and resilience of community-minded people. My husband and I spent 2 afternoons phoning round families from the kids club we volunteer at and I was humbled and blessed to hear how optimistic and hopeful the children were.
As we pray through ways that we can reach out to local families and our vulnerable customers and regulars at the café I’m going to take the words of this song with me:
May His favour be upon you And a thousand generations And your family and your children And their children, and their children May His presence go before you And behind you, and beside you All around you, and within you He is with you, He is with you In the morning, in the evening In your coming, and your going In your weeping, and rejoicing He is for you, He is for you
I'm so grateful for this video providing a moment to engage with Jesus, to let him meet us in our weeping and to be reminded of his presence in our homes – hemming us in on every side.
My prayer for you and your family is that you would have the space to encounter this peace where you are today.