Notes on the Liturgy #7 – Salutation

This is part 7 of 22 in the series Notes on the Liturgy

(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)

Previous Notes on the Liturgy —
Introit, Psalm or Hymn
Kyrie and Gloria

You may find all these by looking at our Regular Column on the Explanation of the Divine Service category or by using the shortcut

These notes were originally written in 2001 by Pastor David Oberdieck and have been edited.

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord,, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

Norm has been involved behind the scenes in many of the "go-to" websites for Lutherans going back many years.


Notes on the Liturgy #7 – Salutation — 2 Comments

  1. Please comment on the response part of the salutation. The origin is based on 2 Timothy 4:22 [“The Lord be with your (sg) spirit. Grace be with you(pl)”] from which we can interpret the first part (singular) to be directed to Timothy but the grace in the last part is intended for Christians generally in the plural.

    TLH and LSB Setting three gives the response “and with thy spirit” while other settings and other hymnals generally respond “and also with you.” What is the rational for either response?

  2. JamesBob,

    This has been quite an issue amongst liturgical Lutherans in the last few years. It is so intense a discussion that Dr. Tim Quill from the Ft. Wayne Seminary wrote his dissertation on this very question.

    “And with Your Spirit: Why the Ancient Response Should Be Restored in the Pastoral Greeting,” in Logia: A Journal of Lutheran Theology (Vol. 7, No. 2, 1998).

    If there are any liturgical experts out there who want to chime in, please do so.

    Pastor Rossow

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