And also with you

Posted by Liz Perraud at

In a rotation with three other church leaders (including our pastor), I lead the children's message in my church once a month.

I often use the scripture preached on to share the story or the message, which sometimes means the story and the message. Other times, however, I have conversations with the children about worship--either what's in the worship space (furniture, stained glass windows, choir) or what's in the order of worship (call to worship, baptism, prayer, music). Recently, we explored the sharing of the peace of Christ.

I explained to the children that when my sons were playing sports (baseball, soccer, basketball, lacrosse) there was a practice at the end of every game where each team lined up and slapped hands of the other team exchanging "good game, good game" all the way down the line. It was the polite thing to do. 

I reminded them that in worship each week we do something similar...not hand slaps and "good games" but shaking hands to share the peace of Christ. The pastor, or other worship leader, models it first by saying to the congregation, "The peace of Christ be with you." And the congregation replies, "And also with you." And then we are to do likewise with others around us.

However, I confessed to the children (and everyone else listening), that I do it wrong nearly every week. Instead of saying "The peace of Christ be with you" to someone, I usually say "Good morning!" It's certainly a polite thing to say but has a completely different meaning than extending the peace of Christ to someone.

And then I asked the children to practice the exchange with me so hopefully I could remember the next time. Next I asked them to turn to someone sitting near them and say "peace of Christ to you" or reply with "and also to you." And then I asked I asked each in the congregation to turn to someone near them and practice the same. 

And, as a matter of fact, that did help me remember to do it right the following Sunday. May the peace of Christ be with you!

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