Memorable Moments Hebrews
Hebrews 13:20-21 ESV
I Peter 5:6-10 RSV
Near the end of the letter the author of Hebrews gives the readers a benediction.
In churches where I’ve been and served the benediction has been used as a final blessing at the end of the service.
I have found the benediction to be very helpful because it gives me words to “carry with me” as I leave worship.
I have felt like the benediction is holy and as such it sets us apart from the world.
A few years ago I discovered that the benediction can be a huge blessing.
My last 18 years in the workplace were not easy. I worked in a fast paced environment and every telephone call, text, email, and letter sent to a customer was subject to review. A negative review went on record.
My complaint about the system was that it seemed like for every negative review it took several positive reviews to even the score. It was always in the back of my mind that if I received too many negative reviews that could result in a negative quarterly evaluation which could lead to dismissal.
As retirement approached, I knew dismissal would be problematic because starting over again with another company would probably be very difficult in my mid to late sixties. Very few companies want to hire someone approaching retirement because training and learning a new job is very costly.
Even though I had never received several negative reviews in a quarter, it was always on my mind.
In addition to that because I had been with the company for nearly twenty years my salary had increased every year. Starting from scratch with a new company would have put me back at the low end salary range. Very few companies hire new employees with the same salary they received from another company.
That was the world I lived in.
Looking back it was not a thriving environment.
It was a surviving environment.
In the workplace at the time I was replaceable.
They knew it. I knew they could hire someone younger who was faster and cheaper so I retired at sixty six.
At the time I was a member of a church that practiced giving a benediction or a blessing after each service on Sunday.
In Hebrews 13:20-21 the author began final remarks for the letter by writing, “Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Each Sunday as I left worship or Bible Study I carried the words I heard with me in my heart. This church also had a team of pray-ers at each service and they would pray that the Word would reach hearts.
If I’ve learned one thing about prayer it’s that intentional prayers get intentional answers.
I know it did with me.
Throughout the work week I would often remember the benediction I’d heard the previous Sunday. Sometimes the Spirit would bring to my mind a specific phrase that blessed me as I worked.
For example, “May the peace of God equip you with everything good.”
That short phrase reminded me that God’s peace surrounded me in that moment and gave me what I needed in that moment to receive and celebrate everything good in that exact moment.
There are other scriptures that I memorized in my twenties that would often come to mind when I was not having a great day.
I Peter wrote wonderful comforting words in I Peter 5:6-10, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that in due time he may exalt you. Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you. Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, and strengthen you.”
I’ve carried those words in my heart for 50 years.
The Benediction does not fail to comfort me.
Peter’s words give us courage to forge ahead.
Spiritual Practice: Comfort and Courage
What scriptures give you comfort and courage?
In God, Deborah