“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen”. Jude 1:24,25
Have you ever ever heard that song before? It is one of the most beautiful Doxologies or Benedictions in the Bible recorded by Scripture in Song in 1972 which you can purchase from iTunes. (Prepare Ye The Way – Album 2)
I find it a sadness, as along with celebrating Communion it imparts something very special from the person who has been appointed the shepherd of the house.
I call it “The Father’s Blessing”.
What exactly is a benediction? It is a pronouncement of divine blessing from God the Father over His people. It is reinforcing the name of God over His people.
It represents an expression of the Father’s love to the faithful through the lips of the Pastor. It’s like when your father personally says “I Love You”!
When I was a boy growing up in church life, church services concluded with the Doxology followed by the Benediction from the Senior Pastor. Admittedly I found the doxology a little boring to sing e.g. “Praise God from whom all blessings flow, praise Him ye creatures here below……Praise…” no thats enough, but when the Pastor gave the Benediction something happens in the spiritual realm.
You see the Benediction , apart from making a good and appropriate conclusion to a church service, leaves a lasting impartation of the Spirit upon the life of the people of faith. We talk about “God’s Blessing” well this is one way we receive it through faith.
That’s why I prefer to call and receive it as the “Father’s Blessing”.
I’m not sure why in recent years the contemporary church has stopped practicing the benediction as a means of blessing the church.
Perhaps in our society today we are not used to hearing words of love and blessing coming from our father figures. Perhaps it was felt to be too liturgical and not relevant.
We seem to have wanted to distance ourselves from anything ceremonial, proper or dignified. On the other hand over recent years I have watched pastors & worship leaders struggle to find adequate words to successfully conclude a service in an appropriate manner.
I heard one young leader quite unceremoniously conclude the service by saying “C Ya later”; or “That’s it, the service is over”.
Apart from being unprofessional and bland, it leaves an uncertain conclusion in the mind of the believer let alone a visitor. It’s like shoving us out the door of your home after the meal saying. “Bye”!
Many years ago I discovered the power of the “Father’s Blessing” quite by accident. I decided at the conclusion of the service to pray a simple prayer of benediction.
The sermon and alter call had just concluded and it was not one of my best days at the pulpit. I felt I had let the people down by my poor performance. So to compensate I asked the people to raise their hands as I prayed over them to dismiss the service.
“May the Blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son & Holy Spirit rest and abide with each one of you and give you Peace”
As I prayed this prayer I felt the power of the Holy Spirit permeiate the atmosphere and seemingly flow through my raised hands and out across over the congregation. It was a paranormal experiance as people began to weep silently. Something was happening in the spiritual realm that I didn’t understand. People were being blessed and touched by the Holy Spirit.
Somehow I was being used as a channel of the Holy Spirit to impart the “Blessing of the Father” upon His people. They didn’t want to leave as the presence of God was manifest upon them. They just stood there and seemed to absorb a supernatural presence!
Later as I stood at the church entrance to shake the hands of the people as they were leaving, I was astounded by the many including housewives, businessmen, tradesmen say “thank you Pastor for that blessing’. There after I didn’t follow the contemporary trend of my colleagues but chose to give the “Fathers Blessing” at the conclusion of every service.
It may have appeared liturgical or traditional to some of my peers but the “Father’s Blessing” is of far more value than the opinion of any colleagues.
Some years ago I received a message on my facebook page which prompted me to write this article.
I don’t expect you to remember me, but I so want to bless you and thank you for what you did for me over those years. I was 18 or so at the time.
I got saved from an entirely non christian background. I came to Spring Street every week and would LOVE it when you would end each service with ‘may the Lord bless you and keep you, may the Lord cause His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you and give you His peace.’
Today I heard a message (and read in Numbers 6) that God instructed them to pronounce that blessing on the children of Israel and that it would write His name on their lives.
I heard this message and broke down and cried with thankfullness that I had a spiritual father who pronounced that blessing over me every week that I was at Spring Street.
THANK YOU for blessing me and for writing the Father’s name on me all those years ago when I knew not what you were doing. I am so blessed by you. I now live on the Sunshine Coast and am active in ministry, missions, serving the community and loving Jesus with ALL my heart.
I am walking in the blessing you pronounced over me week after week. Thank you again!
PS: I pronounced that blessing back over you today, with a greatful heart and tears in my eyes.
For what it’s worth I want to suggest that whoever reads this, should consider the power of the Fathers Blessing. There are dozens of benedictions that one can quote from the Bible.
Perhaps the most commonly used historically would be;
“The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace”.
A few weeks ago I was in a computer store chatting with one of their enthusiastic young salesman & seeking his advice. Before I left I took him by the hand to shake it and said “thank you Kelvin you have been such a help – may God bless you!” His eyes lit up and he said “well thank you sir”.
Why not start today by saying “God Bless You” to people you encounter every day. I love saying “God bless you” when I check out at the grocery store or to people who have served me. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how many people respond positively and appreciate your personal benediction?
Last Sunday morning as I sat watching Pastor Joseph Prince in my lounge room, I raised my hands as I watched and received the “Father’s Blessing” by faith, which in turn prompted me to write this blog to you.
So why not consider today to give a blessing to someone.
For Pastors & Clergy, it is a wonderful privilege to invoke the blessing of God over your Congregation. So why not? They want it and need it. The call is yours!