These words went through my head today as I was thinking about the sacrament of communion. A traditional part of the communion liturgy is the "Passing of the Peace," in which the people exchange signs of peace before coming to the Table. To me, this is a significant part of the sacrament, as integral to it as the bread and wine, because it is the peace shared between brothers and sisters in the faith of Jesus Christ that provide the basis for our "Great Thanksgiving" which blesses and sets apart the elements of the bread and the wine.
Why is peace among brothers and sisters in Christ so important?
For one thing, it sets a good example for outsiders, who so often can use the ammunition of our actions as Christians in our weaker moments against us, calling us hypocrites because we preach lovde and practice division. For another thing, the peace gets us in the right state of mind to receive the Body and Blood of Christ. For it is only when we are at peace with others that we may be at peace with our selves, and it is only when we are at peace with our selves that we may come to be at peace with God, and thus fully participate in communion.
So, may the peace of the Lord be with you. Now and always.