June 5

2 Corinthians 13:11-13

“Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you.” vs. 12

Paul closes his letter to the Corinthians by encouraging them to pay attention to his words and to live at peace with one another. In essence this is his bottom line–he wants this dear little community of believers to experience the love and peace of God in their daily lives. If they do, his heart will be glad! And as a visible sign of that harmony, he tells them to greet one another with a holy kiss! This ancient practice eventually fell out of use in the church, particularly in those areas of Europe where social distancing was the rule. In these last decades, when liturgical practices were modified to include an exchange of peace during worship, such folks had a tough time. The idea of hugging a stranger, much less sharing a kiss, was foreign to them, and many resisted. But as time has passed the exchange of peace has pretty much been accepted by most, and some worshippers absolutely love wandering about giving hugs, handshakes, and a word of peace. Of course, in these last months the shift to on-line worship has pretty much put an end to that kind of intimate gesture! And as congregations are returning to in-person worship many are questioning whether such touching is desirable. Right now, such things are yet to be determined–but it would be a shame if we couldn’t figure out some way to express love in worship and also share a sign of peace.

Thought for the Day: How important is the exchange of peace for me?

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