BLESSING THE KINGDOM
(The beginning of Byzantine Divine Liturgy): Deacon: Bless, Master. Priest: Blessed is the kingdom (Εὐλογημένη ἡ βασιλεία) of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. (The priest intones these words as he stands before the holy Table, raises the Holy Gospel, and makes with it the sign of the Cross.) People/Choir: Amen.
Let me reflect on our “Amen“ (“so be it“) to the priest’s proclamation at the very beginning of Divine Liturgy. What is it we are affirming, or saying “Yes“ to?
We are saying Yes to the “blessing“ (ev-logia in Greek, meaning “good word“) of God’s “kingdom,“ or His primary authority and power in our lives. We “bless“ or say a “good word“ about Him, the Source of all power and authority (Jn 19: 11), as distinct from the many “bad words“ we frequently hear and say about our “other“ authorities and powers. In embracing God’s kingdom and kingship, we relieve ourselves of the burdens and concerns of our earthly politics, handing over to Him what is His, the ultimate authority and judgment over all of it.
When I am called to say “Amen“ to the “good word“ of our One, Triune King at Divine Liturgy, let me do so wholeheartedly, reaffirming my citizenship in His one, undivided Kingdom. That is the place I want to be, – before, during and after Liturgy, – where things are done His way, the way of the Cross. I need not escape from, nor be carried away with, things as they are in my world, but rather walk through them in the wisdom and light of His “good word,“ as the priest signifies by making the sign of the Cross as He blesses God’s kingdom. “Thy kingdom come,“ I say on this Inauguration Day, however I feel about it, “on earth as it is in heaven.“