May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us (v. 1, NIV).
“Make his face shine on us” is the third part of a prayer trio.
We have people in our lives who somehow reflect light. They radiate. When someone radiates, it feels like the light from nature, from above. We need that light like the moon needs the sun’s light in order to glow.
When we lived in Fort Worth, my daughter and I often served at our congregation’s Agape Meal, a weekly family-style dinner hosted by members of the church. Our guests were primarily homeless, transitional, and the working poor. I quickly learned that “normal” small talk often didn’t go as expected. Questions like “Where do you live?” and “What do you do?” generally led to surprisingly bare personal information. “Last night I slept under 7th St. overpass. Just tryin’ to stay clean.” Each week, I found myself schooled in the art of conversational truth from these folks who were living at life’s edge.
One week, I found myself sitting with a woman who was radiant. Every comment she made was about the blessings in her life in spite of some horrendous challenges. “I’ve been sleeping on the streets, but I was able to get a bed in the shelter this week. [Huge smile] And I was able to call my sister. I think we’ll be able to see each other soon. [Huge smile] I’m so grateful to be here tonight.” When my daughter, who was in elementary school then, came over with a pitcher of tea. I introduced her to our guest and they immediately connected, their two faces radiant from God’s shining face.
The psalmist doesn’t pray, “May God’s face shine on me.” He prays for God’s face to shine on us. The plural is intentional, so our less-than-pure faces will reflect that pure light to those around us. Just as the moon reflects the sun on dark nights and lights our way.
Who will cross my path today who needs the light of God’s face?
God, thank you for the light you give. Help us do our part to shine it. Amen.