What is the purpose of exchanging “The Peace”? How long should it last? [Answers, 13 March]
Your answer: At the core of being a human we are all similar and yet we are all made differently, too. We live in communities but in communities of diversity. No wonder many centuries ago Isaiah prophesied that a day would come when the wolf and the lamb would lie down together. A vision of Shalom — a world of peace — could not have been articulated more poetically. Along with the prophet, we all have to imagine and conceptualise a more peaceful world (and perhaps a more peaceful Church, too) than the one we have today, and strive to create it.
Along the similar vein, Jesus once said that we have to make peace with our brothers and sisters before we bring our offerings to God. Sharing the Peace is central in our worship services and rightly so. Some in our Church think that that is the best part of the service. The purpose of sharing the Peace plainly is to strengthen the ideals of peace among us before we come to God with a clear conscience and open heart.
Peace indeed is a gift from God; it is one of the fruits of the spirit. And, as Christians, we believe that our peace with God and one another comes to us from the cross of Christ. The last time we shared the Peace in church, we made the sign of the cross by putting the pointer fingers of both hands together. It started as a simple idea but in practice it became a evocative symbol, which moved many. It made some think about the cost of the peace they share. Some commented that sharing the Peace this way made the eye contact with one another better. They said that they wish to continue this alongside shaking hands even after things return to normal.
Later, at an unpremeditated conversation with a parishioner about the coronavirus, I mentioned the way in which we had shared the Peace at church. She responded, “I will come back to church.” I was reminded once again that in our world of uncertainties the cross is still a powerful sign of peace for many.
(The Revd Dr) Godfrey Kesari
Southwater, West Sussex
Your question: Since churches were locked, the only lay people who receive holy communion happen to live in clergy households. Our vicar is live-streaming two communion services every Sunday morning. His wife is always present and receives communion both times, in less than three hours. As churches are set to remain locked for several more weeks, possibly months, is it appropriate that the vicar’s wife should receive communion twice every Sunday morning, when the rest of the congregation will receive no communion for months?
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