At the end of our morning worship, I typically offer the Aaronic blessing from Numbers 6:24-26. It is one I have heard and known for as long as I can remember – and it is beautiful, because, well, it’s the Word of God.
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.
I have heard other benedictions that I have liked. I have even made some up on the fly when my brain seemingly stopped working and I forgot Numbers 6. Whatever the case, my goal is to bless the people into the mission field as they glorify God.
The following benediction is something I wrote for worship this morning. It is nothing fancy, just something in which I want to bless my congregation and you. To God be the glory!
May you know the love of God that embraces;
the grace of God that frees;
the mercy of God that heals;
the peace of God that comforts;
the power of God that strengthens;
and the forgiveness of God in Jesus Christ that brings you home.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
“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.” [Numbers 6:24-26 ESV]
Let that blessing begin your day and carry you though as you live and serve in God’s kingdom. What grabs me this morning is “…and give you peace.” The enemy seeks to hinder the kingdom and your work within. Be at peace, Christian, the LORD’s blessing will be your shield.
The Pastor -|—
For Lenten worship tonight, with our brothers and sisters from First Presbyterian Church, I get the privilege of preaching. The text is Numbers 21:4-9 and below is the prayer I wrote to be prayed before I preach.
This Numbers text continues our Lenten theme of Old Testament texts dealing with covenant (Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Moses). Tonight we get the fiery serpents and then next week my brother in Christ from First Presbyterian will be closing our Lenten worship series with the New Covenant from Jeremiah 31. It’s been a great series and one of my favorites.
And so I leave you with this prayer tonight…
Father God, You have made Your expectations clear but yet we have turned away from You. You have made salvation a reality through faith in Jesus but we get impatient on our way to the promised land. You have given us Your holy law but yet we go our own way; speaking against You through our rebellion. You provide for us yet we whine and complain about what we don’t have; detesting Your holy provision. And therefore Your fiery judgment is right and we are deserving of it.
Oh God, turn our hearts to You that we may follow faithfully; placing our trust in You and our faith in Your son, Jesus Christ. May the sting of death remind us of our sinfulness but also of Your faithfulness. It’s not a bronze serpent we look at to be healed but rather the cross of Christ. May that produce a fiery faith in us as we praise you for Your grace.
And so I humbly appeal to You to bless these words we hear tonight that we may be transformed. And as we turn away from the fiery consequences of sin in obedience to You, may we see the way to eternal life through Your Son and may we give You all praise and honor and glory, forever and ever. In Jesus’ holy name I pray, Amen.
Have a blessed night 🙂
The Pastor -|—
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. [Numbers 6:24-26]
I use these verses every week as a benediction to close worship. I started this “routine” mainly because that’s what was in our worship book, but I continue because of the beauty of these words. And what a wonderful words to ponder as we close our day:
Our Lord’s shining face upon you
The Lord’s countenance
Beautiful ~ Wonderful ~ Awe inspiring
Meditate on these words before you fall asleep. Ponder their meaning. And then give the Lord thanks and praise as you receive these words of blessing tonight.
And then may your dreams be peaceful, your sleep be restful and your body rejuvenated.
Oh God, thank you for another day. Thank you for the many ways you bless your children throughout the day. And thank you for the peace we can have through Jesus Christ. Amen
Have a blessed night and (God willing) I’ll “see” you tomorrow.
The Pastor -|—
Amazing and merciful God,
Our “bronze snake” has been lifted up.
Our Savior has won the day.
Our Lord reigns on high.
And through this “lifting up” we find forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ. When we grow impatient,
When we become disobedient,
When we long for that which does not save,
you still show amazing love, grace and faithfulness. As those Hebrews bitten by those snakes in the desert, we too deserve punishment and wrath. But as you showed mercy to them you show mercy to us as we confess our sins.
May we look to our “bronze snake” and live.
May we look to our “bronze snake” and see victory.
May we look to our “bronze snake” and give you all praise and worship.
Amazing and merciful God…we give you thanks.
“Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim till all the world adore his sacred name.”
“Come, Christians, follow where our captain trod, our king victorious, Christ, the Son of God.”
[ELW 660 “Lift High the Cross”, chorus and vs.1]