Years before I became a daddy, I heard Michael Card’s beautiful song Barocha. It’s a lullaby from his 1989 children’s album Sleep Sound in Jesus, and it uses the profound Hebrew priestly blessing from Numbers 6:22-27 as its text:
The LORD said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:
“‘”The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn His face toward you and give you peace.”‘
“So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.” (New International Version)
I was working in radio at the time and I had new CDs coming my way on a regular basis. It was fairly easy for even a good song to get lost in the shuffle, but Barocha was more than a good song. It was remarkable. The text that Michael Card chose came directly from the breath of the Creator of the universe. Pretty amazing songwriting partner, I’d say.
The melody that Card chose was both simple and gorgeous. But what initially caught my attention was the way he recorded the song: a multitracked tapestry with layer after layer of his own voice and no accompanying instrumentation. Just one minute and twenty-four seconds of rich a cappella harmonies and timeless words of blessing. (Listen to a sample here.)
The word barocha is a variation of the word baruch, which means – appropriately – Blessing in Hebrew. The priestly baruch from Numbers 6 has been spoken from God to man, from priest to people, from person to person, from parent to child for millennia. It was a tradition of which I wanted to be part.
Fast forward several years to December 12, 1995. I’m 24, married, and I’ve just become the daddy of a sweet little cherub named Isaac Samuel Cosand. Seeing his sparkling blue eyes, feeling his tiny digits wrap around my big daddy finger, listening to the music of his breath and voice…I knew that my place in the cycle of blessing had been realized. I whispered the words over his crib, speaking the Baruch with the deep belief that we truly have a LORD who is capable of blessing and keeping and watching over each of us.
As our four (!) babies have entered our lives and grown and changed, many habits and traditions have come and gone. Something that has been nearly continual, however, is the bedtime blessing. “Daddy, do the blessing with me…” And sometimes I’d hover low over the blankets with my face close, other times I’d hold an outstretched hand from the top bunk, or stand in the doorway as I turn out the lights.
Me: The LORD bless you and keep you…
Them: The LORD make His face shine upon you…
Me: And be gracious to you
Them: The LORD turn His face toward you…
Me: And give you peace. Dwell in peace, you child of God.
Them: Dwell in peace you child of God.
Each baby, each toddler, each child, each tween, each emerging adult. A blessing from father to son or daughter. A connection from the Eternal to the earthly passed through thousands of years of quiet voices and deep confidence in the powerful, protecting hand of a loving Maker.
We’ve skipped some nights here and there. Seasons have come and gone when we got off pattern and missed some blessings. We’re back in now, though, and I’m so thankful. I don’t know if the bedtime Baruch will continue beyond my home to the homes of my children and their children, but I certainly hope so. It is a promise and a quiet connection that I would be so sad to see go silent.
Dear Heavenly Father, You have shown Yourself so faithful to me. In every season of my life, when I’ve felt connected and when I’ve found myself drifting, You have sustained and blessed me. You’ve kept me from disaster and you have been gracious to me. Thank you for allowing me to share in the blessing of fatherhood, for having the opportunity to be a daddy. Thank you for giving me moments of connection with my children and with the tradition you established so long ago. Please help me to never lose sight of Your merciful hand of blessing in my life.