On your marks
Jesus’ resurrection greeting to his disciples in the upper room was ‘Peace’ (see John 20:19). It was only after this that he commissioned them to go out as his representatives to continue his mission (‘as the Father sent me, even so I send you’). In a similar way, when Jesus sent the 70 on their ‘Galilean mission’ in Luke 10, he instructed them first to greet each host with the word ‘Peace’ (Luke 10:5).
The Christian message to the world is one of peace – peace with God through Jesus Christ. Our first step in mission is to greet people with a sign of this peace. The following activity picks up this idea and uses different words for peace from around the world.
No particular props or preparation are required other than the leader becoming familiar with the different peace words and actions below.
Have your group stand in a circle. Teach the various ‘Peace’ greetings from around the world and practise these together:
Pace (pronounced ‘pachay’) from Romania – along with a hug and a ‘kiss’ on each cheek
Shanti from India – along with hands in a prayer position and a simple bow
Salaam from the Middle-East – along with a bow and one hand on the heart
Wa from China – with hands folded across the chest and a deep bow
Amani from East Africa – with a hand-thumb-handshake
Mir from Russia – with a great ‘bear’ hug!
Peace from Great Britain – with a ‘normal’ handshake
The leader then sends off the different ‘peace’ greetings, one after the other, to the left and the right, leaving a small time gap between each one. Soon everyone should be involved giving or receiving a ‘peace’ from around the world, around the circle.
There is bound to be some happy confusion at the crossover points! With luck all the ‘peaces’ should come back to the leader eventually.
Follow this up by reading the story of Jesus surprising the disciples on the evening of the resurrection with his greeting of ‘peace’; this would have been ‘Shalom’ in Hebrew.
Consider the following questions together:
- I wonder what sort of confusion and thoughts went through the disciples’ minds when they heard Jesus’ greeting?
- In what ways is the Christian faith an offer of ‘peace’ to a confused world?
- What has the fact of the resurrection got to do with ‘peace’?
- What can we do to bring ‘peace’ to situations we meet in our lives?