Sunday, March 21, 2010

Not the Same As It Ever Was

[Sorry this is late today. I had it done but forgot to actually hit "Post"!]

A little history: In the early days of Christianity, the "kiss of peace” came at the end of petitions or significant rites and served as an acclamation, much like "Amen.” Tertullian called it the "seal of prayer.” As communities developed their own liturgical traditions, placement of the kiss varied. The Roman Rite placed it where we find it today. Other traditions placed the ritual in the middle, immediately after the petitions or after the presentation of the gifts. At the millennium, it had been relegated to clergy alone and by the 16th century is had vanished from the Latin litrugy altogether. Only with the 1970 General Instruction of the Roman Missal did the rite officially become a part of Catholic liturgical practice again.

Today liturgical theologians talk about the sign of peace as a moment that connects worshipers back to the desire for reconciliation they sought at the end of the Our Father: "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us” it also anticipates the reception of Communion. In offering peace to one another -- not thanks, not "Howdy,” but peace, and not only to friends and family but also strangers and enemies-we express our desire for healing, for communion in our church and in our world and by the grace of God we experience that communion as a reality. At least, that's the theology.

Tomorrow: Where to Put It?

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