"Sent forth by God's blessing, Our truth faith confessing, The people of God from His dwelling take leave. The Supper is ended, O now be extended, The fruits of this service in all who believe. The seed of His teaching, Receptive souls reaching, Shall blossom in action for God and for all. His grace did invite us, His love shall unite us, To work for God's kingdom and answer His call."
"I was glad when they said to me, 'Let us go to the house of the LORD!'" (Psalm 122:1) The psalmist rejoiced to gather with the faithful for worship, and so do we! Our hymn, usually sung at the close of a worship service, reminds us of all that happens in that welcome place that is the house of God.
"His grace did invite us." By God's grace we are invited to join our brothers and sisters in Christ for worship. The baptismal font reminds us of His grace and of the washing of water and the Word that brought us into the Kingdom. "The seed of His teaching," the seed of the Word, is planted in our lives through the sermon and Scripture readings. Together we confess "our true faith" in the words of the historic creeds of the church.
"The Supper is ended." We have been nourished by our Lord's Holy Supper, receiving His body and blood, given and shed for the forgiveness of our sins. In that holy meal, we are united in fellowship with one another and with our Savior. Finally, we are "sent forth by God's blessing." With the familiar and comforting words of the benediction, "The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace" (Numbers 6:24-27). God places His Name and blessing on us, as long ago He bestowed His Name on the people of Israel
The love of God unites us as we take our leave from God's dwelling place (perhaps enjoying on the way a little additional fellowship with coffee and donuts). But then what happens next? Our hymn sets out the path before us. We pray that the fruits of the service will be extended in the lives of all who have gathered to praise the Savior. What we received during worship we now carry out into our daily lives.
The seed of the Word has been sown, falling on the good soil of "receptive souls," where it will "blossom in action" and bear the fruit of love and service in Jesus' Name. During worship we prayed with the words Jesus gave us, "Thy kingdom come." Now united by God's love in Christ, we set out "to work for God's kingdom." Through our words of witness to Jesus, we seek to extend the Kingdom and reach, by God's grace, more receptive souls. We pray that they, too, will join us in worship and, with us, be sent forth by God's blessing.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, in worship You nourish me with Your Word and Your Holy Sacrament. When I leave the service, lead me to serve You by serving others. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn "Sent Forth by God's Blessing," which is number 643 in the Lutheran Service Book.
1. What have you missed most about not attending church during the pandemic?
2. Do you feel it's important to take Holy Communion regularly? Why is this so?
3. Beyond online church services, have you heard of other ways congregations have "gathered" since COVID-19 began?
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