A Benediction for Today

According to Wikipedia, a benediction “is a short invocation for divine help, blessing, and guidance.” From the earliest, Christians adopted benedictions into their worship, particularly at the end of a service. Such benedictions have been regularly practiced ever since. Perhaps the best known biblical benediction is the one at the end of the tiny book of Jude, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, Who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.” (Jude 1:24-25). Only three times in the New Testament is praise offered to God “who is able” - Romans 16:25, Ephesians 3:20, and here, where Jude offers praise to God who is able to “keep you from stumbling.” Further, Jude offers praise to God who can “present you faultless” before Him and finally, Jude gives praise to God who can present us “with exceeding joy.” Jude’s benediction offers divine help, blessing and guidance. Ernest Shurtleff was a student at Andover Seminary near Boston. He wrote a prayer to be sung at the conclusion of commencement, as fellow students promoted, moved on, commenced. The third verse seems especially appropriate for today - for divine help, blessing and guidance:
“Lead on, O King Eternal, we follow, not with fears;
For gladness breaks like morning where’er thy face appears;
Thy cross is lifted o’er us; we journey in its light:
The crown awaits the conquest; lead on, O God of might.”

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