The following is the eighth installment of my bulletin insert series:
Passing the Peace - Most churches have a time of welcome and greeting. Sometimes the Passing of the Peace is “mixed up” with that time as a part of that time. However, the Passing of the Peace is really intended to be an act in worship that is distinct from such a time of welcome and greeting.
The Passing of the Peace usually concludes the “Service of the Word” and prepares us for the “Service of the Table/Thanksgiving.”
Usually, the pastor will say, “The Peace of the Lord be always with you” (or something similar), and the people will respond by saying, “And also with you.” We are then encouraged to share the peace of Christ with those around us. In doing so, people often say, “The peace of the Lord be with you,” or, “Peace be with you,” or simply, “Peace.”
This is not a simple greeting among friends, but rather a gift of God’s own peace passed from one to another. We are praying and speaking the blessings of God’s peace to each other.
This peace is the shalom of God. It is peace with God, with others, with all of God’s creation, and peace in ourselves. It is the wholeness that comes from God alone, through Jesus Christ, by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
This also means that it is a time when we are called to be reconciled to our sisters and brothers, just as Jesus said in Matthew 5:24.
In Passing the Peace to one another, we are speaking a fresh and anew that which Christ said to the disciples, “Peace be with you.”
Information gathered from the following resources:
Lang, Jovian P., OFM. Dictionary of the Liturgy. New York. Catholic Book Publishing Co. 1989.
Webber, Robert. Various works.