Last weekend we (I and the family) were away from home for a family wedding. We had a great time, thanks.
On the Sunday we went to a nearby large church. It is a church I have known about for many years and so to go there was a small ambition fulfilled.
I enjoyed being there, but …
…they messed up the benediction. I had forgotten that in many evangelical churches the usual practice is to get the whole congregation to say together 2 Corinthians 13:14, but with the modification, “The grace … be with us all”.
That’s weird to me. It’s like we have to make do with saying it to each other because we believe either that God has gone away, or that at that point he has nothing to say to us. So a minister cannot say, as God’s mouthpiece, “The grace … be with you all”.
So then we get this other weird thing, that each member of the congregation begins swinging his/her head around trying to catch the eye of someone else in the congregation so that the someone else knows that this a meaningful, personal communication.
When I used to do this (yes, once I thought this was a good thing) my experience was that the “hit” rate of eye-catching was quite low. In fact, I did wonder if catching the eye of another during “The Grace” was not something of an embarrassment which could be avoided or at least diminished by sufficient head swinging. That’s the physicist in me. Then I thought the whole “saying the Grace” could become like a ‘gelly form of the murder-wink game. But I digress…
To learn some more about the place of a benediction and its biblical basis, you need to read Ryan McGraw’s article. Majestic.