Journal entry by Vicki Bunke
As far back as I can remember, I went to church on Sunday mornings. My childhood church held their Sunday School classes in between what we called “the early” and “the late” service. This meant that once we graduated from the nursery, my sister and I attended church service with our parents. Which might have been fine, however, they always made us sit in the first few pews. As a child, I thought it was to torture us. But looking back with my reflective parental eyes, I suppose they hoped it would force us to pay attention – and if not pay attention, at least behave.
My favorite part of the church service was always the Benediction. Not just because it signified the end of the church service, but being located so close to the minister, I always thought he was talking directly to me. My 5-year-old-self thought the Benediction was the minister’s way of saying to me, “Thanks for coming! God wants you to have a great week! See you next Sunday!” I always thought it was such a nice way of sending us on our way. It made me feel loved, protected and connected. Like a reminder, a command, and the promise of a blessing all wrapped into one.
I have spent time and interacted with so many incredibly special people as a result of The Amazing Grace Swim Across America Tour – some of whom I already knew, but many others that I did not know before it all began. Regardless, each one of them will always be a part of my life moving forward in some way. As such, it just seems fitting that The Amazing Grace Swim Across America Tour would conclude with a Benediction or blessing of some sort.
Just as in the Sunday morning church services I attended as a child, we would do well to pay attention to the Benediction. No matter who we are, or what we are going through, we are called to receive the Benediction words as bold declarations about our lives. The Benediction speaks the truth over us. In that very moment as the words ring in our ears, spiritually we receive the enriching presence of God, and the assurance of His power working for us. Of that, we can be assured. As Barbara Brown Taylor once wrote, “Pronounce a silent blessing and pay attention to what happens in the air between you and that other person.”
This video is my way of saying thank you for blessing my life. I am beyond grateful for each of you.