May the love of the Lord rest upon your soul.
May his love dwell in you throughout every day.
May his countenance shine upon you and be gracious to you.
May his Spirit be upon you as you leave this place.
May the love of the Lord (Singing the Faith 771)
This English version of the blessing from Numbers 6:24–26, along with the music, were written by Singaporean couple Lim Swee Hong and Maria Poh Choo Ling. Dr. Lim, who now lectures at The University of Toronto, used to teach at Trinity Theological College on Upper Bukit Timah Road in Singapore, which is just up the road from the flat where I used to live!
It's a joy for me to see this worship music penned by a Singaporean couple featured in our current British Methodist hymn book, Singing the Faith. A true reminder to all of us about the international church. As Dr. Lim reminds us in an article written in 2018 published in the Yale Institute of Sacred Music Review:
There are currently 599 million Christians in Africa compared to 597 million in Latin America and 550 million in Europe. The report projects that by the year 2050 the number of Christians in the global south (Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania) will surpass those in Europe and North America.
The article goes on to primarily discuss the worship and music of Christians in the global south. He concludes by asserting:
Without romanticizing poverty, it is possible to discern in such musical expression the people’s willingness to assert their stance of faith, the immediacy of their desire to encounter God, and the unconditional trust that they have for God’s goodness, regardless of their real burdens and struggles. Perhaps these embody lessons that the church in the global north can learn in order to remain effective witnesses in the new reality of our own socio-cultural landscape, where the institutional church is increasingly marginalized by lack of credibility, and where its relevance fades as society turns away from organized religion. Indeed, for the poor, the kingdom of God is not located in an earth-bound religious institution, but is found in the realm of personal faith in a powerful God that acts. Might this be what we need to rediscover?
There are areas in which we may disagree with brothers and sisters in other parts of the world, and our own experiences in Europe and North America have lead to a focus on other challenges. There is, nevertheless, much that we can learn and share and discuss together. Whilst division and overt racism and discrimination have sadly been in the news again of late, let us, as Christians, remember one of the many blessings of belonging to a truly global movement, and that is wherever we may find ourselves, we find a family and we find a home.
Here is a version of the blessing from YouTube:
The reflections here are written by members of our congregation.