Saturday, July 01, 2006

Benediction

Clyde talks about giving a benediction, which reminds me of a conversation I once had with a member of my Worship Associates Team in a former congregation. He described how the minister of a church he once attended gave a benediction so powerful that he actually felt that she was not just giving a "good word," but calling down a blessing upon the gathered congregation.
This much-decorated career military man had tears in his eyes as he wondered at the power of it: "It was as though she wasn't just casually asking for God's blessing, she was invoking it. She was expecting it."

His beautiful memory really got to me, and I have forever since tried to bring down that same sense of blessing in my benedictions, almost always using words that echo some theme of the service, in addition to something like "May the Spirit of Love guide and guard you until we meet again."

And then we sit down for the Postlude, but we have a new Music Director now and THINGS IS GONNA CHANGE!! But that's a whole 'nuther subject.

4 Comments:

Blogger katesu1979 said...

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20:55  
Blogger MauKatt said...

My minister back in my Main Churchgoing Days (Presbyterian USA) had this benediction: "Go in peace, return to no one evil for evil, support the weak, secure the suffering, in all things ...."

(not sure of the rest after this -- "make known the power of the love of our Lord Jesus Christ" or something like that). "May the (something) of God the Father, the (something) of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the sweet communion of the Holy Spirit be with you and guide you until He comes again."

In any case, it's the first part I've always remembered. And it definitely had the "feel" of an invocation as well as a blessing -- as if he was a conduit for the blessing from God to the congregation.

The power of it was such that I've remembered that first part for decades now, and it has been almost a mantra for me in "trying times" -- especially the "return to no one evil for evil."

I know it's mostly a quotation of a Bible passage, adapted for liturgical purposes, but it's the ~performance~ of it (if I may use that word) that made all the difference.

00:40  
Blogger PeaceBang said...

Yes, it's from one of Paul's letters and is a beautiful benediction. And although "performance" has many connotations with "acting" and therefore "inauthentic," ministers do indeed perform the liturgy.

Thanks for sharing this lovely memory.

13:03  
Blogger Caroline Divine said...

It is beautiful. Thank you.

The full text, I think, is:

"[So,] go into the world in peace. Be of good courage; hold fast that which is good [or: to what is good]; render to no one evil for evil; strengthen the faint-hearted; support the weak; help the afflicted; honor all people. " And then, depending on your religious persuasion, "Love and serve the Lord, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit" (which I think is part of the original blessing) or the alternative "remain in the power of love until we meet again" or or......

Peace to all,

Caroline Divine

18:02  

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