Robert Webber at the end of a discussion remembering an Ash Wednesday service he once attended, says that the Passing of the Peace at the close of the liturgy is a reminder of the resurrection. “As I said, ‘The Peace of the Lord be with you,’ shook hands with my neighbor, and heard the words, ‘Peace be with you,’ I was hearing the resurrection. Here in these words that Jesus first spoke to his disciples in the upper room (see Luke 24:36-49), is the promise that the dark side of life in the world and in us will not prevail. The power of the evil one has been overcome.” (Ancient-Future Time, 106)
And this is true of the liturgy every Lord’s Day. We greet one another as heralds of the resurrection every Sunday before gathering to the table to celebrate the Eucharist, and this further highlights the celebratory nature of the Lord’s Supper. We greet one another in peace because Christ is risen, sin is conquered, and we are about to participate in the wedding feast of the Lamb brought back from the future into our present. In the Passing of the Peace, we are enacting by faith not only the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, we are also enacting the resurrection of our own bodies and the bodies of our neighbors, greeting one another in the peace of the Lord as though we had just woken up at the Last Day, that great Lord’s Day.
River City Pastor says
Psalm 29, near the very end, speaks of the Lord blessing His people with peace, and it’s so interesting that it comes as the capstone of the Lord’s presence sweeping over His creation. Mark Futato in his thesis done at Catholic Univ points out the range of movement in the Psalm: from the waters, to Lebanon, to the wilderness, and then to the temple. It’s the creation splitting open, as the Lord’s voice moves through, over and within it. Psalm 29 presents a forecast of the Living Word who would come and break open the earth in order to proclaim His peace with and to His creatures. We marvel that in God’s wisdom, with our union with the Living Word, we may participate in His proclamation of His peace to others. –Dad