Passing the Peace
by Dr. Dan Sharp, Minister of Worship
Nearly every Sunday in worship, we have a time when we “pass the peace,” or turn and greet those around us. We often say “the peace of the Lord be with you” or “the Lord be with you,” with the response, “and also with you.”
Did you ever wonder the origin of this practice? Its roots are in the Old Testament, in the book of Ruth. You’ll recall in the story, that Boaz gave to his field workers as they were gathering grain. “The Lord be with you” was a typical Jewish greeting. The natural response was, “and also with you.” It was a great encouragement to the person being greeted when another blessed them and reminded them of the presence of the Lord in their everyday circumstance. And an encouragement to the greeter when the blessing was returned upon them.
Think how much more significant this greeting is than, “Hi, how are you doing?” “Fine, how are you?” Note the different focus of the two greetings. Try something. Today instead of the “hi, how’s it going?” bless them with “The Lord be with you…” and see what happens!