Significance of Kiss of Peace in the Liturgy of Holy Qurbana
P: O God and Lord of all, make us worthy to greet one another with the Kiss of peace…now and forever. C: Amen
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
Kiss of peace has a great relevance in the celebration of Holy Qurbana. Kiss of peace becomes mere ritual when its relevance is not understood properly. Here is an attempt to explore the significance of Kiss of peace in the Holy Qurbana.
Peace is one of humans’ basic craving. Everyone longs for a worry-free life where there is no pain, burdens, and problems. The Bible teaches us the fact that peace comes ‘not from the world but from God.’ Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (Jn. 14:27). Psalmist says, “Even though I walk through the valley of shadow of death I fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff they comfort me” (Psa 23:4).
Let us look into the significance of the above liturgical prayers: 1. Kiss of Peace signifies God’s comforting and empowering presence The Greek word for peace is eiréné”and Hebrew word is Shalom. It means “peace of mind, well-being, safety, prosperity, felicity”. Peace or Shalom is that state of mind which one experiences internally and externally. Externally means between two entities, such as between persons or nations. Internally means within the individuals. What is the source of peace or from where does peace come from? Peace comes from God and is upon those whom he has compassion and favor (Isa 54:10, 13; Num 25: Ps 38:3, Jer 14:13). In Judges 6:24, the place of worship (altar) is called as Yahweh-Shalom (Lord is Peace). St. Paul says, “Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstances. Lord peace be with you all (2 Thes 3:16). Isaiah 9:6 describes Jesus as Prince of peace (Isa 9:6). God’s peace ‘Jesus’ incarnated into this world to give us “peace.” Jesus preached peace and his healing ministry was peace-giving ministry. It is through Jesus’ sacrificial death on cross we are in peace with God the Father (Roms. 5:1-2, Eph 2:14-18, 2 Cor 5: 19-21, cf. Zech 6:13). The Resurrected Jesus greets his disciples saying: “Peace be with you” (Jn. 20:19, 21, 26). Peace is “experiencing the presence of God in us or in our midst.” As the worshipping community assembles before the resurrected Jesus in the Holy Qurbana, he gives His divine peace that passes all understandings and guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:6-9). And this peace is His own presence with us. (Mt. 28: 20).
2. Kiss of Peace signifies wholeness or completeness Peace that Jesus provides is complete. The Greek word eirḗnē comes from eirō, which means "to join, tie together into a whole". Peace is experiencing harmony and wholeness. This is possible when one abides in Christ (Jn. 15). As wholeness is only when all essential parts are joined together, so peace is possible only when one realize that he/she belongs to God and in God he/she is whole. The healing ministry of Jesus signifies that wholeness. For instance when Jesus heals the unclean woman, it was not only physical healing that Jesus gave her, but also emotional, social and spiritual. Jesus says to her, “Go in peace” (Lk. 8:48-49). The Holy Communion is experience is that same holistic healing experience. In participating in the Holy Qurbana we experience God’s sanctifying presence that induces in us “Wholeness or completeness.” Those who encountered Jesus with a need experienced that same peace. When the Celebrant blesses and says: “Go in peace”, this blessing means “May Christ (Prince of peace) be with you and attend you.”
3. Kiss of Peace signifies the Church’ mission to spread Gospel (Jesus Christ) to others As peace signifies Christ’s presence in and amidst us, so this experience is to be shared withothers. The liturgical action to this prayer is that the kiss of peace is shared. Kiss of peace is an expression of mutual acceptance, forgiving and reconciliation (Mt. 5:23, 18:20). As the Triune God is mutual indwelling and co-existing in harmony, so should the believers in Christ Jesus (1 Cor. 12:12). The Samaritan Woman, who understood the reality of who Jesus is (the Messiah), spreads that message to the village people (Jn. 4). So we are bearers of peace and givers of that peace. Jesus has called us to live in peace with each other (Mk 9:50). The believing community is empowered to spread Jesus (Prince of peace) to others. This is the mission of the Church. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be God’s children.” In sharing Christ we are being God’s children. But we should not forget the fact that ‘peacemaking’ is costly. For Jesus, it involved his sacrificial death on the cross. So as we bear the peace (Christ) of God, we are called to forsake ourselves and take up the cross. Accepting peace is therefore a call to sacrifice the self. As Jesus’ ministry was a caring and a peace-giving ministry, so should be ours.
So dear friends, as we participate in the ‘Kiss of Peace’ let us be mindful that we are called and set apart to be bearers of God’s peace (Christ) in this world.
May God keep us in His Warm and comforting Embrace. Rev. Shinoi Joseph
1. No regular classes during July and August 2. Little Children’s Ministry (Ages: 3 – 6) will be held on all Malayalam Holy Communion Service Sundays from 9 AM – 9:45 AM. 3. VBSwill be held from Tuesday, July 14 to Sunday, July 19, 2015. Tuesday – Friday: 6 PM to 9 PM; Saturday: 9 AM to 3 PM; Sunday: during church hours. Registration Fee: $25.00 4. Junior/Senior Conference will be held from Thursday, July 9, 2015 to Sunday, July 12, 2015 at Ramapo College, NJ.
Edavaka Mission meetings are held every Thursday at 7:30PM at the church. Any venue changes of the meetings will be announced in the church.
Edavaka Mission Activities
Thoma Voluntary Evangelist's Association was found by our late
Metropolitan Most Rev. Abraham Mar Thoma out of his strong conviction
that each Mar Thomite is an Evangelist. Evangelism
is the utmost mission of this Organization. The Parish level unit is
known as the Edavaka Mission and at the Long Island Mar Thoma Church,
New York, we give stress to the seven fold activities such as
Intercessory Prayer, Bible Study, Sharing of Experience, House Visit,
Visiting the Sick, Group Activities etc
Edavaka Mission regular
meetings are conducted every Thursday at 7.30 PM at the Church as well
as Members' houses with prior announcement at the Parish on Sundays.
Fasting Prayer meetings are conducted once every month at the members' houses either the last Saturdays or Thursdays depending upon members and Achen's
convenience with prior announcement at the Parish on Sundays.
Edavaka Mission also support various Mission projects such as sponsorship of students at St. Thomas School,
Visakhapatanam, India. Sponsoraship of an Evangelist in India. Medical
and financial aid to different individuals and families based on
requests received by Achen time to time. Edavaka Mission welcomes
donations from members for the above mentioned activities and
sponsorship. For details, please contact our Achen Rev. A. B. Binu, Mr.
Mammen Samuel or Achamma Jacob.
1. Monthly SevikaSangham meeting will be held on Saturday, July11th at 10:00 AM at the church. 2. Day-trip to Sight and Sound Theatre in Lancaster, PA on Wednesday, July 22 to see the show “Joseph.” Please contact SevikaSangham office bearers for details.