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Dear Friends,

In the wake of the murder of George Floyd, we are all shaken and brought face to face with the continuing realities of anti-Black racism. Many of us may be largely unaware of the daily and ongoing micro and macro aggressions, and systemic barriers faced by Black people in North America, but they are nevertheless real, and recent events in the media make this very visible.

Amidst the pain and anger of protest, there are also waves of hope brought by masses of peaceful protesters across the globe, demonstrating that this can be a turning point in the tide, and that the time for change and action to end all forms of oppression is now.

As Christians, we believe in the unity of all believers, as well as the innate worth of all peoples, created by God, in the image of God. Unity can be well expressed through song as it brings people together in a shared expression of worship. The clips below were created before the recent tragic events, as during COVID isolation, churches sought to find a way to unite and bring hope. Initially there was a Pittsburgh Blessing, and this inspired other iterations - Sweden Blessing - Canada Blessing - Irish Blessing - South Africa Blessing, and many others as well, as you will see if you google The Blessing YouTube. The two particularly passionate versions I have chosen to share are the Zimbabwe Blessing (below) and UK Blessing.

The lyrics of this song, taken from Numbers 6:24-26, are as follows:

The Lord bless you
And keep you
Make his face shine upon you
And be gracious to you

The Lord turn his
Face toward you
And give you peace
May his favor
Be upon you
And a thousand generations
And your family
And your children

And their children
And their children
May his presence
Go before you
And behind you
And beside you
All around you
And within you
He is with you
He is with you

In the morning
In the evening
In your coming
And your going

In your weeping
And rejoicing
He is for you
He is for you

CCLI Song # 7147007
Chris Brown | Cody Carnes | Kari Jobe | Steven Furtick

What struck me in these lyrics was the line "a thousand generations..."

As we reflect on the painful legacy of colonization which spanned approximately 500 years, with its devastating effects still experienced today, along with current continued forms of economic colonization, 500 years would be about 20 generations. It is powerful to hear the words of blessing, spoken and sung, seeking God's favour for 1000 generations. We pray for God's healing, blessing and favour upon all whose ancestors have suffered through many generations of racism, violence and oppression perpetuated by individuals, groups and systems. May we be instruments of God's peace and unity, as we advocate for social justice and be willing to confront racism in all its forms.