The Home Team

Happy is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways.

You shall eat of the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be happy, and it shall go well with you.

Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.

Thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord.

The Lord bless you from Zion. May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life.

May you see your children’s children. Peace be upon Israel!

Psalm 128, NRSV

The last few verses of this psalm move us from our own immediate kin to the larger community of faith. It’s a benediction of sorts, asking that we are blessed within a much larger blessing all who find their soul’s home in Jerusalem – in honoring the God of Abraham and Sarah.

May you live a long and blessed life – one that includes seeing your grandchildren. May you live in a time when your whole nation lives in peace – and wealth enough to sustain everyone.

In some ways, it’s the same thing that we pray at night: bless those we love, thanks for what we have, bless this nation and everyone in it. There’s nothing wrong with these prayers; they keep us mindful of our families, our friends, and our nearby neighbors – the home team. But there’s an important element that isn’t spoken in this psalm, but is foundational to the Jewish faith: they are blessed to be a blessing to the entire world, to send their love beyond their own people. If we forget this last part, we run the risk of seeking our own good at the expense of those beyond our own particular time and place.

If we forget this last part, we just might forget that God’s love includes everyone – even and especially those we don’t know.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *