The Greeting of Peace is perhaps one of the most misunderstood elements in our worship services. For some people it’s uncomfortable and awkward, while for others it’s a great chance to catch up with friends or meet new people, but for most of us it doesn’t seem very “worshipful.”
As we reflect on Psalm 133 and Ephesians 2:11-22 we can see that God invites us into community with one another because of and through Jesus: that is what we are celebrating with the greeting. We’re also celebrating the fact that we have this community through the gift of the Gospel--the good news that connects us to one another--and through our connection with one another we are a blessing to our own community as well as to the world.
The greeting is more than a handshake, it’s a celebration and a practice meant to draw us closer to God and one another and then send us into the world to be a blessing
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1 How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! 2 It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. 3 It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.
11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. 19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.