Peace be with You (Really, I Mean It)
Peace be with you, the pastor began. As the congregation responded, I joined in the familiar cadence: And also with you.
But, as I settled back into my pew, I was overcome by the emotionless pitch of my own reply. I stopped to think about the words for a minute. My sentiment was genuine, but my flat, lifeless response created a disconnect from the true depth and meaning.
Peace is a big deal. Jesus talked about peace a lot. I instantly notice when peace is wanting in my life. I sincerely pray for peace in the lives of those around me. I even use it in closing most letters and emails.
So why the bland reaction to the pastor’s opening words?
My best guess: routine.
I don’t mind routine. In fact, I actually think starting a worship service with this call and response is an authentic way to mimic Christ’s attitude. But is there a way to preserve the meaning of the words and phrases we repeat so often – a way to overcome the automatic, unconscious responses?
More importantly, how do we raise a generation of girls who don’t just say the right words, but who actually understand their true essence and believe them at their very core? How do we raise girls who understand why we say something like peace be with you, and are filled with passion and amazement every time they utter the words?