18 November 2016
Reading: Psalm 124; 2 Corinthians 11-13
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14 NLT)
This is Paul’s Benediction to the Corinthians at the end of his very challenging and difficult letter. Bene Dictus – Blessing Spoken.
During the years we lived in the United Kingdom we ministered in churches of many denominations and cultures. It was always significant to me that when we were in one of the more traditional churches, I often had the privilege as the leader of the service to pronounce a benediction on the people before dismissing them. I loved to speak these very words from Paul’s letter over the congregation as the people were dismissed, “May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”
Saying “The Grace” had become a tradition for many of them, a ritual that merely signaled the close of a Sunday morning worship service. To me it was fresh and real, the speaking of a blessing over the people by the one in authority!
This concept of Bene Dictus, the speaking of a blessing, is important. We have authority in the Name of Jesus. When we speak to others and about others, we speak for Jesus. Think about that for a minute. Pretty sobering. Pretty exciting!
I’m free to choose the words I speak. It’s disturbingly easy to get drawn into a conversation that is not Bene Dictus, a conversation that involves spoken words that do anything but bless. But I can choose the words I use. I can make the decision to be one whose words are Bene Dictus – Blessing Spoken. I can repent and confess and move on when I mess up and speak words that don’t bless. Then I can discipline myself to awareness and improvement. I can speak a Benediction! You can too!
Father, Thanks for blessing me. Thanks for blessing my friends and family. Thanks for your Word which speaks words of blessing and hope and encouragement to me and about me. Help me to speak the words of Bene Dictus to others and about others. In Jesus’ Name. This morning I speak The Grace over all who read this: May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.