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The Health of the Body

February 8, 2018

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. -John 1:14

Epiphany is ending. We have been celebrating the presence of Jesus with us as a human being, calling disciples, healing and preaching.


It’s a reminder that our faith is based on Incarnation, the trust that God identifies totally with us as human beings. Christ is present in our joys and sorrows, our challenges and our triumphs. And our sickness.


Each Sunday we gather as the Body of Christ. This is more than a metaphor. So when some of us are very sick, it affects all of us. We pray for those who are ill. We visit them. We take Eucharist to them.


This season we have been hearing a lot about an especially dangerous flu epidemic. People are dying in alarming numbers, not only the traditionally vulnerable children and aged, but also people who are not usually so drastically affected.


What are some practical ways that we can be helpful in this situation? First, we can get flu shots that may lessen the severity should we contract the virus and also make us less likely to be a carrier. We can be conscious when friends “go missing,” checking to see if they are OK. We can pray for those who are ill.


And we can be thoughtful about contact that might spread this contagion. If you are sick, perhaps stay away from worship for a time. Watching the sermon online and requesting Eucharistic visitation are two ways to stay connected with the community if this becomes necessary. When we “pass the peace,” perhaps simply smile and bow to your neighbor rather than extending a hand that may be transmitting disease.


And now about Communion. Here is what we know. Receiving the bread only is considered full Communion in our tradition. If the cup is carefully prepared by the Eucharistic Minister (with a vigorous wipe), it is not a likely source of contagion. Actually, intinction (dipping the bread) is less preferable. You may be sure that your priests are taking extra precautions prior to distributing the bread. And if you are especially concerned that you might be infected, simply cross your arms for a blessing.


We come together each week to reaffirm our connections to each other through the power of Christ’s love. Our intention is to grow closer to each other and to the God who cares for each of us. In times of sickness, our fellowship can continue to strengthen the bonds among us. It can even grow, if we dare to imagine that caring for the well-being and health of others is another way of tending to Christ’s Body, of which we are each a precious part.


Faithfully and fondly,


The Rev. Rainey Dankel

Associate Rector


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