The final part of our liturgy is known as the Benediction, which comes from a Latin term meaning “to speak well-being”. Typically, a benediction at FCCF will reiterate the themes from the morning in a concise blessing given to the people. It connects our past hour with the life we have ahead of us.
The benediction provides a moment to pivot between what has been and what will be, changed as a result of the ways we have participated in word and action. Similarly, as this series concludes, we look to the themes and experiments that have shaped us. Throughout this series, we have discussed topics of tradition, community, identity, and belonging. Each component of our liturgical life together has some influence shaping who we are and how we live faithfully in the world.
The Sunday Night Live study group is discussing a book by Father Greg Boyle of Homeboy Industries, in which he describes the transformation that happens as a part of gang intervention that practices radical kinship. He writes, “Community is the singular place where patience and steadiness can be practiced, compassion can be expanded, and gratitude can be nurtured. …It is in that setting that we are able to calibrate our hearts and point them in the direction of the welcoming embrace. Here we make a decision to live in each other’s hearts. After all, we are all just looking for a home for our hearts. As Dorothy Day writes, ‘We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community’.”
The Liturgy provides us a structure through which experience this life. The hard work of being truly known in community is aided by framework that helps us anticipate how our morning will unfold, allowing us to pay attention to what is happening within and among us.
Just like the Benediction both reflects what has happened and prepares us for what is ahead, this series continues a conversation about how and why we gather so that we can continue to find ways to live into our identity and continue to be a community of belonging for fellow sojourners.
Experiment/Benediction: Consider how your heart is at home with this congregation: perhaps it is at home because you see yourself reflected in our practices or because your heart has been shaped by what we do when we get together. However you identify, remember how the Spirit of God is growing you to have a heart more attuned to the teaching and life of Jesus, and what new ways we may live this out in our love, life, and liturgy. Amen.