by Kimberly Knowle-Zeller
Sharing the peace is one of my favorite times in worship.
I love the chance to greet my neighbors in peace.
I give thanks for the opportunity to reach out and hold someone’s hand.
I enjoy the time to recognize Christ in my neighbor.
I need the opportunity to share Christ’s peace with people who think differently than I do.
I love the fact that I can attend another church and continue to share the peace with folks I’ve never met before.
I appreciate the learning my daughter experiences through sharing the peace.
I’ve been supply preaching the last year and have enjoyed the diversity of congregations and worship experiences. God’s people are full of joy and life and hope. And God’s work is being fulfilled in so many ways through so many congregations.
Typically, when I first supply at a congregation and if they have a children’s time, I ask the kids what they love about coming to church. I’ve received a variety of answers: from the pastor, to the music, to being with friends, to children’s time, to the food. When it’s my turn, I share that I love sharing the peace. I tell them that it’s so powerful to share the peace of Christ with others not because we like them or agree with them, but because we see Christ in them and we want to share Christ’s love with them. It’s precisely when we disagree or don’t’ even like someone that we find the real meaning in sharing the peace of Christ. If we can learn in church what it is to have differing views and opinions and still greet one another with a handshake and Christ’s peace, we have a great model for engaging with the world.
My daughter loves the sharing of the peace, too. She’ll reach her hand out to those who are near to her. Even at 2, I believe, she knows there is power in offering our hands and Christ’s peace.
I’ve recently started noticing that whenever she hears the word, “peace,” she’ll offer her hand to whoever is near her. It’s as if she knows the power of the word. It’s as if she knows that sharing Christ’s peace isn’t reserved for a set time but rather is a posture we have towards the world and our neighbors.
The peace of Christ is a gift given to us. And it’s equally a gift that we are to share with others.
Reach out your hand.
The peace of Christ be with you always.
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of a toddler, and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, MO. Her website is http://www.kimberlyknowlezeller.com
Image: via Pixabay