I remember this blessing. We heard it every Sunday at the close of worship, but as a young Sunday school student I didn’t know exactly where it came from. I can still hear our pastor’s intonation of the words and would come to recognize it as God’s love and concern for the Israelites and all of us.
Perhaps that’s where the Irish blessings began. “May the rain fall softly on your fields, the wind be at your back?” They have a touch of poetry about them and are warm and caring.
Aside from the priestly directive to Moses and Aaron, I wonder if the Irish blessing evolved among people as parting words, instead of saying “Goodbye.” At the time, if someone was travelling far, the roads could be rough, or if going on an ocean voyage, the seas could be perilous. Friends or family might not see each other again for a very long time, if ever.
Similarly, I used one of these Irish blessings as part of my wedding speech for our youngest daughter and her husband, as a symbol of their partnership as husband and wife; positive words to go into their future together.
Dear God, as you show your love for your people, let us also show love to those around us every day. Amen. — CRW