The Passing of the Peace

John ArmstrongChurch Tradition

One of the most basic traditions of holy worship practiced by Christians down through the ages is called "the passing of the peace." This tradition is rooted in the several passages in the New Testament that refer to giving one another a "holy kiss."

I remember the first time I read those texts and asked the adults of my church why we didn't practice these customs the answer I got was unsatisfactory. I was puzzled at how insistent we were about interpreting the Bible literally but we tended to pick those things out of the Bible that we liked and left the rest. Such was the case here.

Then I discovered the "passing of the peace." This practice usually precedes coming to the Lord's Table. Part of the reason for this is so that we will all come having sought reconciliation with each other. We will also have a proper way to greet each other in the context of congregational worship.

The greeting is simple:

Leader: The peace of the Lord be with you always.
People: And also with you.
Leader: Please share the peace with one another.

My wife always brings along the hand sanitizer to kill the germs but we gladly shake hands all around and happily pass the peace. I have found the practice to be one that fills my heart with joy.