Yesterday I wrote that I thought that we should have a World Hugs Day as well as a Day of Peace. As it turns out, people online recently set up the 21st of January as World Hugs Day. That was good to read about. It could do a lot of good if it spread, or even if just one person honoured it and spread love to a handful of people.
It reminded me of “the peace” in my church (of england) services. At a point in the service we stop what we are doing (I think Roman Catholics do this as well) and shake hands with those near us, saying “peace be with you.” Now I love that part of the service… IF it’s done right.
Sometimes people in the congregation just shake hands with the people around them and say the words, but don’t SAY them. They don’t mean them, they just roll some sounds together and brush fingertips with people that happen to surround them. Either that, or some just shake hands with the people that they are good friends with and then sit down again.
Now that defeats the point if you ask me. Usually when Fr David (retired priest who lives near my church and helps out) holds the service, when the peace comes he tries to shake hands and wish peace to everyone, or at least most of the people present – I like that because that’s what I’ve been trying to do for the last two and a half years.
It’s difficult when I go to shake hands with someone and they do the “I’ll shake your hand whilst looking in the opposite direction” thing. But a lot of people do make eye contact, which is so important, and I can see that they mean it when they say “peace be with you”.
Once I moved from the back row (where I often sit with my friend and literal neighbour) right to the front to shake hands and wish peace to lots of people, whilst everyone stopped and the priest had gone back to the front and patiently waited, smiling as I realised that most of the congregation were grinning at me. I hurriedly rushed back to my seat grinning back at them. Fun stuff. 😀
I don’t think I got carried away! I just wanted to let everyone know that I wished them well, and I really want our community to love one another.
It was suggested by a friend at a party recently that we should get everyone to hug one another at the peace – that way they would have no choice but to make eye contact! They were joking, but I have to say I love that idea.
World Hugs Day? Hugs at the Peace every Sunday? If I get ordained a priest one day, I might try that. 😀
From our Eucharist: The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen.