This morning while watching the news two anchors were discussing how they take communion, one said he didn't take it on the tongue but in his hands. That told me that they probably were Roman Catholic. She agreed, saying it was safer in her hands, because she feared missing it on the tongue. The story continued with photos explaining that because of the impending flu virus, people will be cautious about touching other's hands and mouths when delivering communion. The common cup will not be used. It is hard to remember every detail, but here we go again. The panic button is already being pushed. Vaccines are already being prepared for selected groups determined by certain factors such as: age, and pregnancy.
We are people that live on the edge. The flu is a virus which is air borne and the only way you can protect yourself from the germs is to stay home with the covers over your head. Seriously who can do that? I don't mean to make light of this very serious potential threat. Hopefully, we're on top of it.
It got me to thinking though about how different churches distribute communion. Our church uses the same methods it has for thousands of years, we take communion by the spoon. We belong to the Eastern Orthodox Church. Yet, the Western Orthodox Church does not use the spoon, but follows the western tradition of the bread on the tongue.
Sunday, we had visitors who confided that they did not take communion because they did not know "how to" in our church. While we have the same faith, we are different in some ways. It will take time to adjust to those changes if they are to feel comfortable in our parish setting. Their all English liturgy includes a full choir with accompaniment. I don't recall if they also take the wine in a chalice after receiving the bread on their tongue, by their priest. Ours is all in one chalice and we receive both the Body and Blood of Christ at the same time.
The Western Orthodox Church is growing steadily and is new around this area. We welcome members new and old along with the challenges ahead. And just as in years before, will place our trust in our maker, fashioner, and our God.
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