LitBit Feature – Passing of the Peace
The Passing of the Peace. The passing of the peace is an ancient liturgical rite, often enacted in earlier times as a “kiss of peace” but more often today as a handshake or embrace. The passing of the peace is more than a “hello”, which is suggested in some liturgies where it takes place quite early in the service. The peace is a prayer: that peace be with the one we greet, and this prayer is reciprocated with the response, ‘And also with you.” The passing of the peace usually takes place following the triplet of the prayer of confession, the declaration of forgiveness and the doxology (hymn of praise). In this location, the passing of the peace extends what has declared in the preaching to have occurred between the people and God to a declaration of the people to each other. As God is seen in the declaration of forgiveness no longer to be a “threat” to us, we declare that we will no longer be a threat to each other. Hence, “peace be with you”, not simply as a general wish or even merely a prayer but as a commitment of one member of the congregation to another which anticipates the unity enacted in the Eucharist which follows.