Friends, I’ve been receiving SO many questions, comments, and suggestions regarding the Coronavirus – which is good. It means that we are all thinking about how we can best navigate this health crisis together, and keep ourselves and our community safe.
1. If you are experiencing any cold/flu symptoms, please don’t come to church. If you are worried about your immune system, and fear that you are especially at-risk, please also use your best judgement whether you should come or not. Remember, our 10AM Sunday Service is broadcast live on Facebook, videos from the Adult Forum are posted on our website, the Sunday Sermon is posted to YouTube and available on the website, and we have several prayer services scheduled online throughout the week as well. Online spirituality only gets you so far, but in this time it might just get us through to the other side of the crisis.
2. At St Mark’s, we’ve put “hand-shaking” on hold, especially during the passing of the peace. We can still great one another verbally, and we can even do the “elbow bump,” but for now let’s not use hand-contact, which is the surest way to spread germs.
3. We have “Purell” bottles spread throughout the whole building. In addition to hand washing, please feel free to use them liberally.
4. As for Communion, we are not going to stop offering the Common Cup. The common wisdom is that between the metal chalice and the alcohol in the wine, the common cup self-sanitizes. There has never been a reported case of someone contracting any disease, ever, from Communion. However, during this health crisis, if you would feel more prudent to refrain from receiving the wine, we will totally understand. There is a rather ancient theological pronouncement called “the Doctrine of Concomitance,” which says that we receive 100% of Jesus in the bread, and 100% of Jesus in the wine. If you only take the Bread, you aren’t missing out on some part of Jesus. You don’t get 50% in one and the other 50% in the other. You’re already getting all of Him.
5. And, let us pray. Let us pray for those already affected by the Coronavirus, those who have been exposed, those who in the medical and scientific communities who are trying to get a handle on this, those with compromised immune systems, and all of us who are trying to navigate this time with faith and not fear.