Understanding the Dismissal

The Dismissal consists of those acts of worship that send out people from the assembly to love and serve God and their neighbors in the world. It should retains the celebrative mood of the Eucharist and adds to it the sense of being sent forth. Like any meeting, whether formal or informal, the Dismissal contains acts of departure or going forth. So naturally, public worship, which has a beginning, must also have an ending. Consequently, the acts of worship in the Dismissal simply send the people forth. For this reason the announcements are put by many worshiping communities after the Table worship at the beginning of the Dismissal. Because the announcements represent the ongoing activity of the worshiping community, their inclusion in the Dismissal is entirely appropriate. Naturally, announcements should be brief and to the point.

Next, the blessing is said over the people. The blessing, or benediction, which is Jewish in origin, is an authoritative declaration of God’s favor on the people. Like the Aaronic blessing of the Hebrew form Numbers 6:24–26Numbers 6:24–26, ESV  24 The Lord bless you and keep you; 25 the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; 26 the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. , the Christian blessing proclaims God’s continued presence with the people of God’s name, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:7Philippians 4:7, ESV  7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. .

After the blessing, it is normal to sing a recessional hymn. This hymn is more than a concluding song. It is an expression of continuing worship. The praise not only of our lips but our lives. Consequently, it should be chosen with care and sung enthusiastically with joyful praise.

Finally the service of worship is concluded with the words of Dismissal, which sends the people into the world to do what they have experienced in worship—works of love in the context of prayer and praise.