The Blessing Phenomenon may be the best thing that’s happened in a bad year. It has brought comfort to millions and unity to the church – just when we needed it.
What is “The Blessing”? It’s a worship song with lyrics straight out of the Bible. You may have seen versions of this song on social media. It’s everywhere. Like a spark from heaven, this song has ignited a spiritual fire that is sweeping across the world.
A fire is lit
On March 6, 2020, “The Blessing” was first released as a live music video on YouTube by Elevation Music. The song was an instant hit among Christians everywhere. Within weeks, numerous cover versions had been uploaded by groups in New Zealand, South Africa, Zimbabwe, South Korea, the United States and elsewhere. Church choirs and children’s choirs did covers.
At the same time, many foreign language versions of “The Blessing” began to appear. As far as I can tell, a Hebrew version was first. This was quickly followed by versions in French, Spanish, German, Mongolian, Dutch, Haitian Creole, Italian, Mandarin, Tamil, and Swedish. (You can find the links below.) Several versions of “The Blessing” have also been released in American and British sign language.
Some of these versions are as simple as a guy with a guitar. Others feature multinational choirs and orchestras. In the Arabic version of the song, 67 people from 16 Arab nations sing “The Blessing” together.
For sheer multi-lingualness, the polyglot version from Nigeria takes the cake. It features a dozen languages and dialects that you’ve probably never heard of, including Igbo, Tiv, and Ijaw. It’s a multicultural masterpiece.
A word sung in season
Countless worship songs are released every week and you never hear them. What makes “The Blessing” different? Because in these dark days of quarantines and race riots, people are desperate for good news, and “The Blessing” delivers big time.
As the world wrestles with the curse of Covid, “The Blessing” reveals God’s heart to bless his children. While angry men pound pulpits preaching condemnation and judgment, this song declares that God is for you and with you:
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
These lyrics remind us of the promises of Psalm 23. We may be in the Valley of Shadow, but God has not abandoned us. We may be fearful about the future, but God plans to pour his favor on us and our families:
May his favor be upon you / And a thousand generations
Your family and your children / And their children, and their children
Because “The Blessing” speaks to the deepest needs of our day, it transcends cultural and language barriers. Yet “The Blessing” does even more than that; it transcends church boundaries.
An anthem for the church
Think of a worship song that is sung across denominations and you’ll have a hard time coming up with anything besides “Amazing Grace.” Yet “The Blessing” is such a song. It’s just three months it has become an anthem for the whole Church.
In early May 2020, the UK version of “The Blessing” was released. This beautiful video features worship leaders and musicians from more than 65 churches: Anglicans, Methodists, Catholics, Charismatics, Salvos, and everyone in between. Rappers join with choristers of all colors and stripes to proclaim the favor of God. It’s a picture of the kingdom come and it’s exhilarating.
The UK version of “The Blessing” was soon followed by multi-church contributions from Latin America (34 churches came together on that one), Hawaii (25 churches), Malaysia (120 churches), Canada (more than 200 churches), France (100+ churches), Singapore (177 churches) and Australia (300+ churches).
At the best of times it’s difficult to get even a few churches to do anything together. But these are extraordinary times and the church is standing together like never before. Surely the favor of God is on this song because it carries a message we all need to hear:
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
Had “The Blessing” been released last year, I suspect it would’ve passed largely unnoticed. The song is not much different from a hundred other big-sounding worship songs. The lyrics are unoriginal and repetitive. There are an awful lot of “Amens.” But because “The Blessing” was released this year, when we really needed it, it has become the unofficial theme song of 2020, and rightly so.
A blessing for the world
I have no doubt that the touch of heaven is behind “The Blessing” phenomenon. Look at the church videos and you will find the recording quality is often average. Some people are simply singing on their phones in the privacy of their bedrooms. There are no smoke machines, no stage lights. Yet there’s real spirit and joy in their worship, an authentic David-like passion. You can feel it. It resonates and uplifts because those singing are ordinary people stuck at home, just like us. I’ve never seen anything like it.
“The Blessing” is a gift from God to the church. Thanks to countless people who are brave enough to sing in their bedrooms, it has become a gift from the church to the whole world. It’s exactly the gift we need.
I encourage you to pick one of the versions below and watch it with your family. If you are fearful and anxious, allow the words of “The Blessing” to comfort and encourage you. If you are worried about your children, receive them as though your Father were speaking to you. Let it be your song in the night.
I am absolutely certain that through this song God is speaking to all of us in our hour of need. His words to us are good and full of power.
As we receive, we agree. Amen.
Links to multi-church collaborations of “The Blessing” (in order of release date):
Pittsburg (USA) (April 10, 2020)
Ipoh (Malaysia) (May 1, 2020)
United Kingdom (May 3, 2020)
Latin America (May 11, 2020)
Hawaii (May 13, 2020)
Malaysia (May 15, 2020)
Canada (May 16, 2020)
Bay Area (USA) (May 29, 2020)
Nigeria (May 31, 2020)
France (May 31, 2020)
Singapore (May 1, 2020)
Orlando (USA), (May 4, 2020)
Channel Islands (May 31, 2020)
Indonesia (June 5, 2020)
Ghana (June 5, 2020)
Australia (June 6, 2020)
Lebanon (June 9, 2020)
Brazil (June 21, 2020)
New York (USA) (July 2, 2020)
Cuba (July 2, 2020)
New England (USA) (July 4, 2020)
Aotearoa/New Zealand (August 20, 2020)
Foreign-language versions of “The Blessing” (first appearances only):
Hebrew (March 20, 2020)
French (March 25, 2020)
Farsi (March 26, 2020)
Japan (March 29, 2020)
Spanish (March 31, 2020)
German (April 8, 2020)
Mongolian (April 11, 2020)
Portuguese (April 4, 2020)
Luganda (April 7, 2020)
Dutch (April 15, 2020)
Nigerian pidgin (May 5, 2020)
Haitian creole (May 10, 2020)
Italian (May 12, 2020)
Mandarin (May 16, 2020)
Tamil (May 22, 2020)
Swedish (May 23, 2020)
Arabic (May 27, 2020)
Apologies if I missed your video. Let me know about it in the comments.