Monday, December 24, 2012

Advent XXIII

Many churches practice the ritual known as "The Passing of the Peace" on Sunday morning.  If not done every Sunday, it is often observed as a part of the Holy Communion ritual.  It is a moment for reaching out to someone as we often do when shaking hands, but instead of saying "Good morning," the spoken greeting is "The peace of Christ be with you."  And the person who hears the greeting responds by saying, "And also with you."  Actually, it has always seemed more like a prayer of blessing than a greeting.  It can be a powerful moment in worship as it affords us the opportunity to physically touch another in a way that seeks to be a blessing. 
This Christmas Eve I wish it were possible to touch hands with those who read this blog and exchange this very special moment of blessing.  To bless  and to be blessed with the peace of Christ is more than just some verbal social exchange; instead, it is to enter into a sacred experience with another.  The blessing of the peace of Christ is something worthy of a time of meditation and prayer.  What does it look like?  What does it feel like?  How is it experienced?  To bless another with the peace of Christ is to offer the blessing of order in the midst of a world filled with such chaos.  It is to be blessed with a prayer for a meaningful life filled with divine purpose.  It is to be able to live in a right relationship with our God.  And it is to be able to live with others in relationships that are filled with grace, and forgiveness, and mercy.  Such is how the peace of Christ looks to me on this Christmas Eve.
It is a blessing I pray for each of you who read these words and share this moment with me.  Will you imagine with me that we are standing face to face and that we are reaching out to take one another's hand?  In such a moment on this Christmas Eve, I would say to you, "The peace of Christ be with you."  If you would like to respond and complete the ritual of blessing, you can send an email with the words, "And also with you" to   Once again I say to you, "The peace of Christ be with you."

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