The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Passing peace isn't peaceful

Not everyone likes it

This article (April, "Hugger, shaker … peacemaker?") hit a nerve because passing the peace and the common cup are two unworshipful practices that bug me and take away from the worship experience. As a young man on a trip to Rome, I was fortunate to be part of an audience with the pope. I had to make up my mind to kneel and kiss his ring (because that was the thing to do). I did survive, but I’m not anxious to repeat it. Anyway, the passing of the peace has become commonplace and perfunctory. I have learned to receive the host with my left hand because I have shaken hands with my right.

David Leidig
Rochester, N.Y.

Stopped attending church

The practice you outlined in your article has led me to stop going to church—I dislike it that much. To me church has always been a place where individuals commune with God and not with each other. We have ample enough opportunity for that. Rationalizing this essentially social activity as “sharing the peace” seems just silly to me. Citing Scripture as the reason behind this new gimmick in the service seems much more like something out of the book of one of the newer fundamentalist denominations. It’s not what I expect from a liturgical church like the Lutheran church.

Ken Coleman
San Antonio, Texas

Hospital gloves next?

The allergic reaction people have to sharing the peace is just the latest example of how people overfocus on perceived threats in an anxious concern for safety. Three years ago [the congregation I serve] suspended sharing the peace in our church during flu season. What happened? Everyone came out after church and did what? Shook my hand. Just think of the millions of germs I collected after church from all those people. Pity the poor person who was last in line. I didn’t have a sick day all winter. Next thing you know, they’ll be asking pastors to serve communion with sterile hospital gloves.

Dan Biles
Spring Grove, Pa.

The rest of this article is only available to subscribers.

text size:

this page: email | print

February issue


Embracing diversity