Minister! Leader! Say “The Benediction” with confidence today . That word in essence means to speak well, to speak good things over people. It is what God did to you in Christ and does to you still. In all your imperfections He looked at you in Christ and said something no one save Jesus deserved to hear: “You are my Son, my Daughter, whom I love! You bring me great joy!”
Hear these words yourself before you minister, before you do a thing, before your enemy mocks your worth or suitability or gifting to minister to anyone at all. Then say over others today, courtesy of Zoom, what is said over you. Maybe you should stop before speaking “The Benediction,” “The Blessing,” and tell those entrusted by the Chief Shepherd to your care what these last few words mean, why you can and do utter them every week.
I remember our New Testament Professor telling us how in one University he worked in at one point they decided to give slightly higher marks than the students’ work merited. The result? The work standard of the students improved.
There is a lesson about the power of blessing in there somewhere and linked to that the power of grace truly understood and truly received! The people you are called to serve will live holier and more fruitful lives, the more you speak grace in its full truth and truth with fullness of grace.
Perhaps if we really understood “The Benediction” we would not just pronounce it. We would instead shout it with the joyful shout of those delivered from the power of their enemies and set free from the snare of the fowler, sing it with joy, or hardly be able to say it without being overwhelmed with tears of wonder at the love of God…
When I had to step back from being a parish minister through ill health one of my elders said to me with moist eyes “ Kenny, could you not stay on and just come each week, and say ‘The Benediction’ over us? That would be enough for us all.” He had got hold of the importance and living power of those customary words at the close of worship.