When it comes to spelling words, and using correct diction or grammar, the addition or omission of a single letter can make all the difference.

Take, for example, the letter “S,” A desert is a dry, arid space. To desert someone is to abandon them. Add an “s” and you get the word dessert, which is a sweet treat that usually comes at the end of a meal. Preference for dessert can vary from person to person. I’ve never met a pie that I didn’t like. My wife, on the other hand, loves to finish off a nice meal with some Lefse, or some chocolate.

Some people say, “You don’t get everything that you want.” Others say, “You can have your cake and eat it too.” When I was a child, I thought that every meal needed to include dessert. My mother had a mantra: “There’s always room for ice cream.” Helen Keller once said, “Life is short and unpredictable. Eat the dessert first.”

Recently, I read and studied Psalm 67. It’s a short Psalm, only seven verses long; but it’s a goldmine. It’s like getting dessert twice. Sounds tasty, doesn’t it? Psalm 67 begins and ends with a blessing, a benediction. Why do we want God to be gracious to us, to bless us, and make His face shine upon us? The Psalmist not only speaks the blessing, he also provides the reason for the blessing. Blessing is given SO THAT God’s Way may be known on earth and SO THAT God’s Salvation may be known among all nations. God wants all people to be saved; to shout for joy and sing His praises!

Interestingly enough, God’s name is not specifically mentioned in Psalm 67. Or is it? What is God’s Way? What is God’s Salvation or Saving Power? If the Word of God is to be trusted, and it is, then the answer is not hidden. It is revealed.

Jesus declares, “I Am the Way, and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to Father except through me.” (John 14) The name of Jesus means “salvation.” St. Paul writes, “The cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.” (I Corinthians 1)

Old Testament scholar James Luther Mays once said, “The blessing of the Church is for the salvation of the nations.” The saved share the blessing of God with others. The saved share the dessert, the name of Jesus by which we must be saved, with all people.

I attended a graduation reception on Memorial Day weekend. The meal was fantastic. It was followed by a dessert social. There were dozens of tasty desserts. It was heavenly! My wife commented, “You’ve had five desserts. I think that’s enough.” For some people, fruit is a dessert. For others, it’s Jell-O, or pudding, or a treat at the Dairy Queen. From now on, Psalm 67 is going to be one of my favorite desserts. I like the idea of beginning and ending a meal, a life, and a Psalm with dessert.

The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace. Jesus is Lord! Dessert anyone?

David Steffenson is pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran Church of Rochester, a mission congregation of the North American Lutheran Church. Pulpit runs on the Saturday faith pages and features reflections from area religious leaders. To contribute, contact Life Editor Jeff Pieters at 285-7748 or life@postbulletin.com.

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