The viral worship sensation is moving many to tears. Kate Patterson,...
Rediscovering the Ministry of Blessing - Russ Parker
Published by SPCK
‘What we do not celebrate shrinks with lack of affirmation,’ says Russ Parker in his study of passing on God’s blessings, revealing what happens when we don’t bless.
It’s a profound thought to ponder. Are we celebrating the young people in our churches? Newcomers? The contribution of laypeople? An openness to the Spirit? And so on.
The topic of being people who bless is brilliant and life-affirming, and perhaps because I had high hopes for this book, I was slightly disappointed. The author takes a traditional approach as he unpacks the meaning of blessing in the Bible – relying heavily on commentaries – and then explores how we can apply this spiritual practice. He looks at the Jewish practice of blessing; the blessings of parents on their children; how to bless in battle; how to bless creation.
When he shares stories, the text comes alive, as they illustrate the intellectual points he makes. But I would have appreciated more stories, and can’t help but wonder if the book would have more impact if it had been written as narrative non-fiction.
Sharing blessings is deeply biblical, and when we intentionally bless those whom we love – and those with whom we struggle – something surprising happens as God ushers in his kingdom. Siblings bury decades-old conflicts; warring churches forgive each other and bless their villages and towns; rural areas blossom and bear fruit. Blessings bring about life.
It’s an important topic in a book to read slowly and digest. The prayers of blessing at the back are an added bonus: ‘I bless you with knowing the joy of the Lord that is your strength… I bless you with knowing who you are in your Father’s eyes and in drinking deeply of the joy that he has in who you are’.
Amy Boucher-Pye is a writer, speaker and editor.