(One of the goals of Brothers of John the Steadfast is to train the Brothers in good practice and theology. This article is one in a series that teaches about the liturgy.
These articles were initially intended to be put into bulletins or read during the service to educate the laity on the different parts of the service. They were therefore purposefully made short.
Notes on the Liturgy #7 – Salutation
Before the Collect of the Day and also at the Preface, Pastor and people speak the words, “The Lord be with you. And also with you.” Similar expressions are found in the Bible at several places (Ruth 2:4, Judges 6:12; Lk 1:28, II Thess 3:16). “The concept is still common in the Mideast’s use of shalom/Salaam (‘peace’ — with ‘of the Lord, be with you’ understood).” ( “Meaningful Worship” CPH) Pastor and people bless each other and so it is a sign of the bond of love in Jesus that should reside among God’s people (Jn 15:17). We do not seek to harm each other, but we seek to bless each other.
It is worth noting that the salutation comes before sacramental elements in the service–before the Bible readings and before Communion. This is intentional. Pastor and people bless each other and the blessings are received through the faith filled hearing of the Word and reception of the Lord’s Supper.
Among some pastors there might be hand gestures that accompany the salutation. The pastor may extend his hands when he speaks, and receiving the blessing he may fold them together and slightly bow his head. In reference to this practice it has been said, “The extending of hands (by pastor) expresses the ardent longing and the earnest desire of the priest that the blessing he invokes may be bestowed; the joining of the hands signifies that the priest humbly mistrusts his own strength and confidently abandons himself to the Lord.” (Lutheran Liturgy by L. Reed)
These notes were originally written in 2001 by Pastor David Oberdieck and have been edited.