late Middle English: via Old French from Latin benedictio(n-), from benedicere ‘wish well, bless,’ from bene ‘well’ + dicere ‘say.’
- the utterance or bestowing of a blessing, especially at the end of a religious service.
- a devout or formal invocation of blessedness.
- a blessing, prayer, invocation.
I’ve often stood at the end of services waiting on the pronouncement of the benediction with plans in my mind for the rest of the day. Sometimes I missed the pastor’s words entirely because I was thinking of my own stresses and excitements for the remainder of the weekend. But as I’ve spent more time in ministry, I find myself anticipating this part of the service.
Instead of anticipating my upcoming day, I realize this is the final part of worship where I hear a word from my pastor that I may not hear again for seven more days. Someone who ministers to me and my family will pronounce a word of blessing for me – for each person they care for in this room of church family members. Sometimes the words said are related to a theme of the day; sometimes they are prayers of the saints; sometimes they are a repetition that pastor uses each week to drive home that every week they care in the same way – deeply, lovingly.
I hear a word from God each time I am blessed during the time of benediction, and as I leave my ministry here at River Road Church after four years of membership and three and a half years of on-staff service, I want to leave you with a benediction – a blessing – for this faith family that has nurtured my ministry, loved my family, and prepared me for my next call:
May the God who has blessed you with a “thoughtful faith” continue to expand your minds and hearts as you seek after Truth.
May the God who has given you the presence of professors, theologians, prayer warriors, and dedicated laypersons continue to call others into ministry and service with you.
May the God who provides for us all in many ways continue to call each of you into generous giving and faithful living so as to share God’s abundance with others.
May the God who never abandons continue to walk beside you, whether through the darkest valley or the brightest mountaintop.
May the God who holds you close through the love of Christian leadership continue to reach out through those called to serve among you as your pastors.
And may you always remember the prayer of this pastor, whose love for you never ends, whose appreciation runs deep, and whose life has been shaped by your love and faithfulness.
Written by Libby Grammer