Often at some point in worship I am struck with the profound realization that people have come during the best hour of the week to hear what I have to say about the word of God. Me! Really? Surely there are smarter and worldlier people to listen to than me?! (I know this to be true!) But yet, people still regularly come.
One of the moments in worship where this realization is most frequently true, is in the benediction at the close of worship. When I look into the eyes of those in the congregation—those with whom I have prayed, cried, rejoiced, laughed, and listened—I look into their eyes and say, "May God be gracious to you! May God's face shine upon you!"
And in God's grace to you, and in God's face shining upon you, may we know as a community that God's grace belongs to all of us. As we pray, cry, rejoice, laugh and listen together.
Psalm 67:1-7 (NRSV)
1 May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, (Selah)
2 that your way may be known upon earth, your saving power among all nations.
3 Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.
4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. (Selah)
5 Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.
6 The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, has blessed us.
7 May God continue to bless us; let all the ends of the earth revere him.