The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
When I was a student worship leader at Calvin College, I noticed that near the end of our worship services a number of students in the balcony would duck out just before the benediction. The reason for that was obvious: they wanted to get in the lunch line before most of the other students filed out of the 1,000-seat auditorium.
But this used to bother the college chaplain. He once said to me, “You know, if the benediction were the only part of the whole service they managed to catch, it would still have been worth their being here.” He could not understand why they would want to miss out on the blessing.
Paul closed many of his letters with a note of doxology—as we saw the other day (Philippians 4:20)—and then also with a lyric blessing pronounced over the people to whom he was writing. To live under the blessing of almighty God—to have such words spoken over us—is among the finest things we will ever experience in life. “Grace to you and peace. . . .” “The Lord bless you and keep you. . . .” The benediction, or blessing, is a sign of God’s abiding love for us, a reminder of all that gives us peace. We should never want to miss it!
Let’s take time to savor these words of grace and love from God the Father, the gracious Son, and the comforting Holy Spirit. Grace to you, and peace. Amen.
Lord, thank you for your grace and peace. Thank you for the words of Paul to the Philippians, which by your Spirit are now your words to us. All praise to you! In Christ, Amen.
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