|Ministry Musings are also included on the latest pewsheet|
PASSING THE PEACE
Post-game handshakes are a time honoured tradition, be it small league teams or more professional players. During the game they may ’fight’, engage in ’battle’, ’conquer’ or suffer ’defeat’, but at the end of the day athletes are not at war, by a simple hand gesture athletes declare that they are at peace. We may devote little thought to these actions but they are quite profound in meaning and significance.
Christian worship is filled with profound actions. We bow our heads in prayer, we raise our arms in praise, we stand in reverence during a scripture reading, we walk forward and kneel at the altar to take communion. One ancient and significance gesture in worship is the passing of the peace. We turn to our neighbours or shake each other's hand and offer one another ' peace'. This is a tradition rooted in scripture that embodies our identity as peacemakers.
“Peace be with you” is a greeting Jesus himself used with his disciples ( Luke 24:36 and John 20: 19,26 ) . The apostle Paul opened each of his letters with the words “Grace and peace be with you” ( 1 Corinthians 1:3)
The gesture is simple , but the meaning is profound. When we extend our hand to another, we identify with Jesus, who extended his life to the point of death to make peace with humanity. When we regularly pass the peace we practice God’s call to make every effort to maintain the bond of peace . ( Ephesians 4:3) and so in the midst of divisions we can symbolise our unity through handshakes.
How wonderful it would be if the leaders of nations offered and greeted each other with a handshake of peace. Today, more than ever, our world needs peace and a calm approach to communications.
During November we have our ’service of remembrance’ when we shall honour those killed in the two world wars. We shall name them , pray for peace and offer one another ’a sign of the peace’ and so today,
“The peace of the Lord be always with you”
’God’s quiet within the noise
God’s hope within the uncertainty
God’s rest within the toil
God’s presence within your soul
Peace go with you. Amen