A final word about benedictions: A few years ago it occurred to me that most (some exceptions, of course) benedictions (those worship-ending prayers) were meaningless—rather like an appendix. In most churches, they merely signal that the worship is over, perhaps like the bell ending a round of boxing. During benedictions, musicians turn the pages of their music for their final gig, ushers scurry to open the exit doors, and parishioners grab their coats.
I think benedictions deserve better.
I've come to regard them as the last word of the pastor to the congregation as they split for six days of tough living in a larger world. The benediction is a blessing upon the people, and it is designed to remind them of great themes of assurance and challenge they should carry with them in the short-future. A mother giving her children last minute reminders as they head for the school bus is a picture that comes to mind. Or a coach exhorting a team just before the game begins.
If an invocation invites ...1