Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Kiss, Tap, Shake, Nod

I remember how surprised I was when I discovered other churches where "God's Peace" was said. In Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Catholic and other liturgical churches, the Passing of the Peace usually takes place after the Lord's Prayer. Congregants are invited to turn to each other, shake hands and say "the Peace of the Lord be with you" or some variant thereof.

In the letters of St. Paul there are several references to greeting one another with "a holy kiss" (Rom 16:16; 1 Cor 16:20; 2 Cor 13:12; 1 Thess 5:26; 1 Pet 5:14). Some view this as a sign of reconciliation, some as a simple blessing, some as a recognition of the Christ within our neighbor.

According to Joseph Jungman, a Jesuit historian of liturgy, this ritual was the Christian appropriation of a secular practice when a kiss was the sign of initiation into a fraternity or society. Thus the Christians took a secular practice and incorporated it into the sacrament of initiation where it took on added meaning. While the practice died out in secular society as culture changed, its meaning in the Christian community continued, although it degenerated to a tap on the cheek and ultimately to a handshake.

I would say that by using it as a signal of membership, the OALC has preserved its secular nature very well.

7 comments:

  1. It is certainly used more as a
    secular signal of membership
    within the group than what it
    means.

    However when it is withheld from
    outsiders in the around the
    assembled group routine it
    disturbs some people because it
    is interpreted as a judgementcall

    (you are not a true Christian).
    In my case its time to bring out
    the "Judge not lest ye judged"
    response,being a former member.

    However could it also be an
    automatic response in the secular
    way (not a member) without
    thought of the victim's belief?

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  2. Sure, it can go both ways. The more important point of this topic is that the church should teach its members to extend the greeting of "God's Peace" to everyone, not just those they deem to be Christians. This is not being done. I know OALCers who weren't even aware that this greeting is used in many churches! Fathom that! Why do they not know that?! Because that is not what they are taught and most OALCers won't make the effort to learn what goes on outside its walls.

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  3. First, thank you for posting this sight! There are so many that don't know what goes on in the OALC church. I am married to someone that goes there. I could not count the times I have stood in a line with women from there and been passed by without the greeting of God's Peace. If they feel they can't greet, they could at least acknowledge with a hi or hello, but most don't. There are some that will greet, but overall they don't. The only way they can tell me apart is because my hair is cut. They greet ALL the men because of course men don't look any different than anyone else. I have read alot of the postings and have tried hard not to comment so far, and so far, everything I am reading is true. It is all very sad and I know there are many that don't have any idea what a true peace of heart is. My husband is finally starting to see some things, but he is still living in the fear that 'people' will condemn him if he says anything to them. Sad, sad for sure. TY again for having this!

    ReplyDelete
  4. After 60 years of chasing smoke
    rings of status ,money,the
    accumulation of things (the
    American addiction),I have
    come to the conclusion:

    LOVE both giving and receiving
    has the ultimate and only true
    value.

    Here are some interesting
    examples from the Bible:

    1 John 4-7
    "He that loveth not, knoweth
    not God, for God is love."

    "If we love one another, God
    dwelleth in us ,and His love
    is perfected in us."

    Luke 10-25
    "Master what shall I do to in-
    herit eternal life?"

    "Thou shalt love the Lord thy
    God with all thy strength and
    with all thy mind;

    "and thy neighbor as thyself"

    Neighbor means of course far
    more than someone you believe
    "Gods Peace"worthy; about 6.2
    billion in fact.

    It also means you must first
    love and accept your self before
    you can love others.

    I've never heard a single word
    about the above in all my years
    of sermon sitting in a 1AP
    Church !

    P.S.You also can't beat the
    compound return on your
    investment(love given).
    You never fail to get back
    far more than you gave.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Actually I was taught,(I am from the APL), that you should never bring glory to yourself, or show off your talents, which would supposedly bring glory to yourself. I don't think if you can sing and do it for others that is 'showing off'. Or if you use a little makeup and jewelry that that is trying to bring glory to yourself. Or if you can play a musical instrument. There are SO many talents that go wasted. God didn't give us those to just let them lie. We each have one, or several, whether it be baking or singing or building houses or gardening. I have never heard anything said about someone's beautiful flower garden, but oh my! if you sing a song solo WITH music! A man can be just as proud of building his own home as a woman that just baked 5 loaves of bread or sewed dresses for her daughter. These are GOD GIVEN talents. It has been hard to realize alot of these things for me. God made us perfect in his eyes, and yet we are always trying to please 'people'. God knows everything and knows your heart. I was asked, how I can do some of the things I do, I said, because I have a 'peace' in my heart with God. He loves me with or without the judgement of others. When I was growing up, we could not go to games or dances or dress 'cute' or wear makeup. I feel cheated by that. I was told that no one cheered for God on the cross, so we shouldn't go to games and cheer for the players. I didn't have to wear a bun in my hair, but they knew I was not allowed to do most things. Sure there are some kids that get into things they shouldn't, but the majority are good kids and going to a game will not lead you to hell. Dancing is one that has always bothered me, I have never 'felt' the sin in that. Babies, as little as when they can hear start to bounce to music. Is that not part of how God made us? That is not a learned thing since those babies can't even talk yet. I am so glad I don't have to hang my head every time I make a move anymore and also, when I see someone I KNOW will judge me. God judges and if my heart is right with God I don't have to hang my head for people. What a freedom! Thank you again for this sight!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I like your comments, anonymous. I've often wondered how much of this Don't-Call-Attention-to-Yourself stuff is old Finnish cultural that was incorporated into the OALC belief system.

    ReplyDelete