The Salutation is part of the everyday speech of God’s faithful people. It announces the presence of the Lord who blesses and gives gifts to His Church. In the Divine Service, the exchange between the pastor and the congregation, “The Lord be with you… and also with you” or “and with your spirit,” reveals that there is a special relationship between the congregation and its representative before God—the called pastor.
It’s more than a polite greeting, in fact, it has been called “The Little Ordination” because, as in the pastor’s ordination, it is the acknowledgement that the pastor stands as an under-shepherd in the stead and by the command of Christ to serve His flock, that is, to give Jesus’ sheep His gifts: His Word and Sacraments. For this reason, it precedes the gifts given in the Service of the Word (prayer, Scripture readings, sermon) and is part of the preface to the Service of the Sacrament where we receive the gift of Christ’s very body and blood. (Ruth 2:4; Judges 6:12; Luke 1:28; 2 Thessalonians 3:16; 2 Timothy 4:22; Galatians 6:18).