Passing of the Peace

On Sunday afternoon Bryan and I hung out and went to coffee with our new friends, David and Sarah. It was a nice time of getting to know them a little bit better. At one point in the conversation we started talking about church and they shared with us a little bit about the church that they went to in the states. They shared that their church in the states had really tried to incorporate a variety of things from different Christian traditions and that they really liked that and they shared particularly that the church had practiced something called “passing of the peace” and that it was something they particularly like. I had experienced this concept of passing of the peace once before when Bryan and I went to an Anglican Christmas Eve service and I had enjoyed it even though it was something new to me. So, I decide to look it up and find out a little bit more about the idea.

I did a quick google search and learned a little more about this practice. Basically the idea is that at some point during the service usually at the end or just before communion the congregation takes time to greet each other by saying “The peace of the Lord be with you” and replying to one another with “and also with you.”

I like this idea. I think partly because I’m drawn to liturgical styles of worship but also because I think there is value in physical representations of theological truth, physical reminders of theological truth. Christ is with us and He has given us His peace. We are to be His people of peace in the world. What a wonderful reminder of these things it would be to turn each week to a fellow brother or sister in Christ and say “the peace of the Lord be with you” and hear them replay “and also with you”. We are to be people of reconciliation and peace and that should start first with our relationship with one another among the body of Christ.

Some of the articles I read talked about what a powerful experience of reconciliation passing of the peace could be… For example… Perhaps I have a disagreement with someone in the church, or I’m angry with someone in the church or feel hurt by and betrayed by someone in the church - we are all human and when we live in community we are bound to not get along and have these sorts of conflicts – but then I come to the passing of the peace and I am reminded that this other person is just as much a part of Christ’s body as I am and they deserve the peace of the Lord just as much as I do. And so in taking their hand and saying “the peace of the Lord be with you” I am taking the first step in reconciliation and the first step in peace. This idea of having a time like this to act out Christ’s peace to one another seems incredibly powerful to me.

I think one of my favorite articles I read about this was this one if you want to read more about this idea.

Rejoicing in the journey - Beth Stedman