The Service of the Word contains a traditional greeting among Christians. This responsive dialog unites the people and the pastor in corporate worship. The Hebrew greeting Shalom alechum! Alechum shalom! (Peace be with you) is still heard in the streets of Israel. Christians replaced the Hebrew wish for peace with the Peace giver Himself. “The Lord be with you” may be said prior to the Collect of the Day.
The Salutation has been interpreted in a number of ways, but its underlying emphasis is the existence of a special relationship between the pastor and the congregation. The response, “And also with you” or “And with your spirit” confirms this to be a caring relationship. It is not a prayer, but a sign of mutual love and respect. The Salutation is a much stronger greeting than “Good Morning!” It signifies a spiritual tie between the pastor and the people that God alone brings.
For more about Lutheran worship see:
Protecting Our Lutheran Heritage, part 1