Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Bridging the Word and the World

12/18 2013

Benediction for the Waiting Ones


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An Advent litany from the Northumbria Community’s Celtic Daily Prayer reads,

God of the watching ones,
give us Your benediction.

God of the waiting ones,
give us Your good word for our souls.

God of the watching ones,
the waiting ones,
the slow and suffering ones,
give us Your benediction,
Your good word for our souls,
that we might rest.

God of the watching ones,
the waiting ones,
the slow and suffering ones,

and of the angels in heaven,

and of the child in the womb,

give us Your benediction,
Your good word for our souls,
that we might rest and rise
in the kindness of Your company.

I love a good benediction:
the brief, yet powerful truths,
and the charge to get busy serving and loving out in the world.

The benediction both nourishes and commissions.

My affinity for a good benediction grew during my college years when a pastor of mine offered this simple blessing, delivered with warm hands on my nervous face, “Jesus loves you, Lance, he always has, and he always will.”

I sigh now when I think about that blessing. I want to hear it again. I don’t want to merely read it. I yearn to hear, to feel that blessing. I want to know the peace and joy that come with such affection and hope. But I have to wait.

During this Advent season we practice waiting and hoping. We want to hear the Lord’s benediction, those good words for our souls. But for now, we are the waiting ones, the watching ones. Some of us might be the slow and suffering ones of the litany above. But if God’s coming is anything like it was last time, the slow and suffering will be in good company.

Written by Lance Hershberger, senior MDiv student at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary