SCRIPTURE: Hebrews 13:20-21
20 Now may the God of peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 make you complete in everything good so that you may do his will, working among us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
A benediction is defined as “a short invocation for divine help, blessing and guidance, usually at the end of worship service.” Growing up, the churches I attended always had a benediction that was given by the pastor at the end of the service. But I have noticed in recent years, at least in my own context, many churches are utilizing benedictions that are done corporately, or offered by the entire congregation not just the pastor. And of course, there are some churches who switch between these two methods depending on if it is a special Sunday or worship service.
I have come to appreciate both styles of benedictions as they both offer some strong theological basis. A benediction done solely by the pastor is a reflection of tradition and history going back all the way to this scripture passage from Hebrews as a faith leader offers a blessing on the congregation or community. But I also love the idea of a benediction offered by the community together as a way to bless each other and care for each other.
Do you have a preferred style of benediction? Have you ever been witness to another style of benediction? Did you like it or not, and why?
God of all divine help, blessing, and guidance, we give you thanks for all that you do on our behalf, especially your mercy, love, and grace. Help us to remember to bless one another not just on Sundays as we come together to worship you, but throughout the week through prayer, action, and words. Amen.