Messiah News

Passing of the Peace reintroduced to worship beginning June 11

Traditionally, we have a pattern for worship, our practice of Holy Communion, that has four basic elements - gathering, word, meal, and sending. This structure allows for freedom and flexibility in the ways worship may be shaped locally, while focusing on what the church holds in common: the means of grace: the saving word of God and the sacraments.

Some of this freedom and flexibility is found in the music of the church, the vast array of hymns and liturgies and praise music that has been incorporated into our Lutheran worship. Liturgy, the work of the people, brings us familiarity and depth through our connection with ancient and well-grounded traditions.

All of these forms are intended to incorporate the people into the body of the church so we are practitioners and participants in worship and not mere spectators. These may include statements of confession and affirmations of faith, gospel acclamations, response to prayers, invitations to stand up, opportunities to offer verbal assent (an "and also with you"), the passing of the offering plate, and the traditional Passing of the Peace.

The liturgical intention of the Passing of the Peace is that we are enacting John 20, receiving from one another the peace that Christ gave to the disciples. We fill the room with the life of the Holy Spirit, offering to one another what we have received through Christ's death and resurrection and rehearsing what we take as our mission out into the world.

In some assemblies, the Peace has become a kind of seventh-inning stretch during which everyone chats with everyone else about the week's news. This ancient practice, instituted and inspired by Jesus himself, means so much more and as a key component of worship we would like to reintroduce it at Messiah, this summer.

You are not required to move around the worship space but you are free to get up and express this gesture of peace to those around you as you feel comfortable. Handshakes and hugs were common pre-COVID, and if you and the person next to you are comfortable with that that's great. But a simple wave or peace sign is totally okay, too. 

Try it out: speak words or add a physical sign of your genuine care and support for one another as we reintroduce the Passing of the Peace to worship once again beginning June 11.

-Pastor Dave and Pastor Tom

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