It's has been going on long enough in enough churches that it has become a ritual.
"Let's take a moment to greet one another," the worship leader says. Then the music begins, the people stand up, move around, shake each others' hands, and say how glad they are to see each other.
They call it "Passing the Peace" or "Meet and Greet." I like "Trap and Rap" but it has yet to catch on--I'm hoping, though.
I hate it. It reminds me of when I was a kid attending a party and when it came time to leave, my mom would say, "Be sure to tell them you had a nice time."
"I had a nice time," I would mumble with deep sincerity.
A lot of people seem to like it. If I try to skip it, I get complaints, especially from the guys who consider it a religious experience to hug a good looking woman.
I had occasion to visit another church not long ago and it came time for that precious moment of fellowship. I saw a handful of people working the crowd like salesmen and politicians and I thought for a moment I was at a used car lot.
It depresses me to realize how often I have done that same aggressive glad handing myself, working the crowds and noting the visitors for future cultivation.
I can remember when I worked a crowd to see who was especially needy. But there are two things different now. First, in this crowd, no one wants to let on that they're needy. And second, I'm too tired to care as much.
By the end of Sunday night, I'm tired of shaking hands and beaming my big mug into other people's faces. I'm ready to go home to hug my two tall handsome sons and kiss my pretty wife.