There are some denominations or folks who do church, where at some point in the worship service, the leader says, “Peace be with you” and those in attendance together say, “And also with you.” When one is not of a denomination that does this weekly, such as myself, it is a really cool blessing to speak over folks. However, I have heard from some who grew up with this greeting and it had lost it meaning and punch.
Church history and tradition is a fascinating thing. Personally, the knowledge of where something started and why, is intriguing to me. Where did this “Peace” greeting originate? The answer may be from Ruth.
In Ruth chapter two the landowner Boaz arrived at one of his fields in Bethlehem (or Beit-Lechem in the CJB). Bo ‘az says to his reapers, “Adonai be with you”; and they answered him, “Adonai bless you.”
It may go way back to Numbers 6:24-27 (CJB):
May Adonai bless you and keep you.
May Adonai make his face shine on you and show you his favor.
May Adonai lift up his face toward you and give you peace.
“In this way they are to put my name on the people of Isra ‘el, so that I will bless them.”
Let’s use our words to bless folks. It may have been Jesus who encouraged something like that.