If you attend church regularly or if you have ever attended, you have probably “passed the peace.” Those few moments when you are asked to greet those around you, say hello or in a more liturgical setting actually say to one another, “May the peace of the Lord be with you” and it return you receive, “and also with you.”
“Passing the peace is a tradition rooted in Scripture that embodies our identity as peacemakers (Matt. 5:9; 2 Cor. 5:20) and trains ours hearts, hands, and tongues in the ways of peace.” (Reformed worship.org)
It seems during this post-election, holiday season we could use a little more passing of the peace. Last week I was driving when I saw “waving man.” I don’t know his actual name, but he has found purpose and meaning in walking miles each day waving to every car that passes. I have seen him many times over the years and I always smile and wave. When I saw him last week I thought about the simplicity of this act. Each day he wakes up and walks intentionally in high traffic areas to bring joy to everyone that passes by him. I am sure there are people who pass him and either ignore his gesture or quite possibly are immune to it. Why is it that we have a tendency to miss simple gestures of joy? Maybe it’s because we aren’t looking for them or perhaps we are just too busy to notice.
This week I also received a package in the mail from American Eagle. If you shop there you, too, you may have received this same gift. I opened it and it was a blanket. I was confused because I hadn’t ordered a blanket so I began looking for a receipt. In the bag was a note from American Eagle apologizing for any inconvenience I may have experienced while shopping online during Cyber Monday. While I did shop online and make a purchase that night I didn’t have an issues. I almost appreciated the gesture more though. They could have sent me a coupon or an email of apology and honestly I would not have noticed. This, I noticed. They were peacemaking. Passing the peace to me and countless customers.
When we shake hands after a hard fought game, hug one another or apologize we are passing the peace. We are saying, whatever may have transpired previously we are now making peace; no hard feelings.
This week let’s pass the peace and receive it with intention. Don’t just shake someone’s hand in passing or say thank you as you take your coffee on the run. Stop. Look that person in the eye and pass peace, joy, hope, love, gratitude and compassion to that person.
Peace Be With You,
Lowi & G