1 Peter 5:14
Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.
For many years, I attend the Episcopal Church. My children are raised in it.
The liturgy is uplifting. Comforting in its routine. Majestic in its language.
And, formal. Very formal.
There is a point in the service called "The Peace". This is the moment before the Holy Eucharist where the congregation is encouraged to greet each other in the name of the Lord.
"The peace of the Lord be always with you," intones the priest.
"And, also with you," comes the staid response.
Then, we shake hands with and greet those sitting next to us or in front of us or behind us.
There is never any effort to mingle with anyone a few rows up or back. And, God forbid, one should traipse across the aisle to the other side!
So, as people tend to gravitate toward the same pews each Sunday, we end up more like a mutual admiration society instead of reaching out to anyone new or different in the name of Christ.
I join the Methodist Church where Danny worships before we get married. Although I love the contemporary service, it takes me awhile to abandon myself wholly to it. After all, I have years of traditional worship under my belt.
Now, as Danny and I help to lead this service, my favorite part to watch is the "Passing of the Peace" which we call "Meet and Greet".
As soon as the signal is given, the members are like eager students flooding the playground at recess. There is no aisle too wide to traverse. No visitor who goes unacknowledged.
They hug, they smile, they reach out in genuine Christian love to one another.
It's a no-holds-barred free-for-all!
And, so amazingly joyful and wondrous to behold.
The marvelous peace of our Lord made manifest.
How do you "pass the peace" where you worship?
Will you join me in prayer?
Father, may we, as Christians, always greet each other with love and joy. Help us to reach across the aisle to those who are new to our church or those we have not greeted before. Open our hearts to see Christ in every person. Amen.
Psalms 25 or 9, 15
1 Peter 5:1-14
Matthew (1:1-7), 3:1-6