Numbers 6:22-27; 2 Corinthians 13: 11-14
In today’s passage, the book of Numbers, chapter 6, is the one that many preachers use for the benediction, the last act of worship that is followed by the final music. Just as we are morphed when we enter to be one body of Christ, we are morphed when we leave this space to be one community of faith in the world, outside of the church building. The question for us today is how well we move back from worship to our daily life—from morphed or separated or sacred back to real or complicated or secularized life.
When we morph back to real-life, we are reminded that we belong with God, and for God, and to God. No matter how rocky the journey we walk on every day; no matter what hard challenges we wrestle with, we are called and blessed to believe in God who delivers, feeds, leads, creates, and gives a new start; and to be comforted by God’s unending and unquestionable love and care; and to be in peace, “shalom,” that is something that the world cannot give us. Yes, there is a clear reason we do a benediction at the end of the service.
One phrase I often hear from Texan people is “Bless your heart.” I understand that this phrase, “Bless your heart,” is one of the expressions to be compassionate and sympathetic, in a way that we might get on one another’s boat. However, we sometimes use that phrase, as a door to escape from another’s situation, meaning that that is not my problem, but yours.
Of course, I invite us to continue to say, “Bless your heart,” in a good way, so that we not only get on another’s boat to be sympathetic, but also row the boat forward together to be a blessing to each other.
Remember that we are not morphed back to life the way it was. Rather, we go back to life made new, as new as blessing, as new as Easter. We go back in glad obedience, a new shalom, a new discipleship, and a new identity. That is to say, what happens here during worship service is not cut off when the service is over. With and by a benediction, the newness of God moves out with us, and we are blessed, and we carry that power of blessing out with us.
In conclusion of today’s sermon, I paraphrase one announcement about what we do here
as the captain. “Ladies and gentleman, welcome on board, First Christian flight with service from the kingdom of heaven on Earth to the kingdom of heaven”.
Currently, we are experiencing some turbulence, so you might feel some bumps and shakes. So, please return to your seats and fasten your seat belt at the pew. In the meantime, the cabin crew, our elders and deacons, still come and offer you a light snack and beverage, and the inflight movie has been playing every Sunday at 10:30a.m. Thank you for choosing the First Christian Church.
Enjoy your flight. And may God bless our journey.
Thanks be to God. Amen.