Passing the peace is not primarily for greeting each other (we have a terrific coffee time in the parlor for that); itís about sharing a powerful gift that has been given us through Christís death and resurrection.
This gift from Christ is ďoursĒ only in the sense that what we have received is ours to give to one another. In John 17, As he faced death, and departure from his earthly life, Jesus prayed "Father, I pray that they may all be one. Healed of their wounds. Forgiven for the hurts they have rendered. Reconciled from the estrangement that puts miles of misunderstanding between them and others.
Christ was focused on relationships between and among human beings, not divine/human relationship. People who are separated by their differences, with broken and strained relationships, who feel that they donít belong, who hurt each other unintentionally, through ignorance or thoughtlessness.
Itís a gift to help us grow into a more united congregation, one that is already known for its warmth and caring; one that helps newcomers and strangers feel that they belong; one that assists its members in the daily and difficult task of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Passing the peace in worship offers nothing less than a glimpse of the Kingdom of God, when peace will reign on earth. So let's share this gift now by saying to one another THE PEACE OF CHRIST BE WITH YOU. You may answer AND ALSO WITH YOU
May the God of hope Fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
So that you may abound in hope By the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.