While watching the news, two Fox News 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. I remember hearing from the kitchen as I prepared my breakfast, that 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. I spoke with my doctor today, and he thought as I did, that the media is creating a frenzy, while little known facts are available. He didn't have flu shots, but thought it best to obtain one for himself, as he is sixty-five. I remarked that not enough information was available concerning side effects, which I'm always leary of. I decided I would take the "wait and see" approach.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. I need to buy some hand sanitizers, but what if someone sneezes in my face in the supermarket or pew? It got me to thinking though about how different churches distribute communion. Our church uses the same methods it has for thousands of years, 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, drinking the wine from a cup, I believe. (Correct me if I'm wrong).Sunday, we had visitors from the Western Orthodox Tradition who confided that they did not take communion because they did not know "how to" in our church. While we have the same faith, our Liturgical structure differs 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, which resembles in sound the early Latin Church, before the changes. 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 receiving both the Body and Blood of Christ at the same time, from a spoon, by the priest "only." The only exception to this was when we celebrated the Liturty of St.James, then we received the Bread in our right hand, and the Wine in a cup. A very beautiful Liturgy said once a year.
This may sound gross, but my friend who is a nurse said that she had heard that years ago, people didn't brush their teeth, before taking Communion. Who knows?
Our priest is familiar with this subject as he is on top of the news, being a radio news anchor. The fact is, many years ago, when my husband John and I broached the subject with another priest, he said people took Communion during the plaques years ago, unaffected. Both priests have said, "You've got to remember who and what you are receiving". No doubt, world health authorities are gearing up for the worse, and that may require a quaranteen of sorts. I wasn't around in 1918, but saw some of the pictures with black wreaths on doors. I recall some of the stories my mom shared, in which the virus took the lives of family and friends alike.
The Western Orthodox Church is growing steadily and is new around this area. We welcome members new and old. East and West will encounter challenges ahead. And, will our two methods of taking Communion remain as they are now, or will an adjustment be needed, in some way, as is other churches?
It is winter in other parts of the world and I wonder how they are coping, and how the deadly flu has affected the Churches in their Countries. Ultimately, just as in years before, we will place our trust in our maker, fashioner, and our God.
I sure would like to know if anyone else has pondered on these things? Especially concerning the Church and taking Communion, worldwide.
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