Weekly Reflection and News: February 6, 2020

Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.

“You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 5:13-20

My father told me once that when he was a boy he had figured out that if you could rotate a coil of wire wrapped around a shaft inside magnets spaced at the right places, and alternate the magnetic fields of the coil at the right time, the magnets would pull the shaft around. He had stumbled on the basic principle that makes an electric motor work. Unfortunately, someone else had thought of it first. Electromagnetics was not to be his field of influence. Words would. He went on in life to study a previously unwritten language of a people of western Ecuador, create a writing system for it, and translate the Bible into the language. At his funeral hundreds of people gathered to pay him tribute.

When Jesus gave the above instruction, he set the living of our spiritual lives in the context of fields of influence. Faith is not just for one’s own personal comfort or enlightenment. It must be lived as a sphere of influence. Spirituality cannot be separated from community.

How far should one’s sphere of influence extend? We’ve all run into “religious” people who believe it is their God-given duty and right to influence us in ways that are not welcome. In the passage above Jesus points out that the purpose of our good works is that others should give glory to God. Unwelcome influence hardly accomplishes that. On the other hand, “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.”[1] If a butterfly’s wing on this side of the ocean can cause a storm on the other, we never quite know how far our influence goes. Perhaps it is best to cast the net of our community as wide as we possibly can, and do our good works, trusting that goodness in itself is worth spreading around.

The Rev. Paul Moore
Priest at St. Paul’s (email)

[1] Wallace, William Ross. “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.” Poet’s Corner (1865).


Health Corner…

Intinction
The dipping of the Host into the wine by the minister or the congregant

Last week I spoke of the 2019 Novel Corona Virus (2019-nCor), they still haven’t come up with a name and the best practices to deal with it. The situation continues to evolve but the recommendations have not changed. There are large number of cases in China and relatively very few in the rest of the world and most of those near ports-of-entry and people traveling from Wuhan. Semi-rural Washington is not on the list, so remember your training and wash your hands, do not touch your face and keep a safe distance from people who are ill and if you are worried about MERS-CoV, stay away from camels.

This latest outbreak of a serious virus, remember that influenza is a far greater threat, creates a space to speak about Communion, the common cup and the practice of intinction. The dipping of the host into the wine to receive “… the Sacrament … in both kinds simultaneously, in a manner approved by the bishop.” (Pg 407 BCP) In the Diocese of Olympia, Bishop Rickel has discouraged the practice of intinction.

When something like this happens there is always a concern about the common cup. The most recent of these occurred early in the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the late 20th Century and continuing, during the SARS and MERS epidemic, 2002-2003 and 2012-2015 respectively. Each episode and probably going back to Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch in the 19th Century and the end of the miasma theory and the beginning of germ theory of disease. Conventional wisdom looks at the sharing of the cup and sees a lot of germs being passed by neighbor to neighbor. National health care institutions, national churches and dioceses have all studied the practices of communion and have concluded that there is less risk from sipping from the common cup than from the risk of contamination from fingers dipping into the wine. (CDC, Health Canada, Public Health England, World Health Organization, Church of England, Anglican Church of Canada, The Episcopal Church, York Minster, Diocese of Toronto, Diocese of California)

The conclusion of the Diocese of Toronto during the SARS epidemic that hit that city so hard was:
1) sipping from the common cup represents a minimal risk of transmission of contagion;
2) sharing a handshake in the exchange of the peace presents a minimal risk of transmission of contagion. Both of these activities fall within the parameters of the normal risks of daily living.
3)The practice of intinction can be perceived as a higher risk activity. Fingertips of intinctors may contaminate the shared wine with pathogens other than those found in saliva.”

If one feels that they should avoid drinking from the common cup either because of sickness or caution, it is sufficient to receive the bread or wine in “one kind only” to receive the full expression of the sacrament. Cross your arms over your chest as a sign to the minister to offer but not give the wine.

Finally, there are our siblings who are dealing with the autoimmune disorder of celiac (coeliac) disease and by the dipping of gluten containing hosts into the wine it can be tainted enough to cause grave problems. While our own risk is one thing creating risk for another is a better reason to refrain from intinction.

Be well,
Deacon Dennis Taylor, RN


ANNOUNCEMENTS

Sacramental Records for St. Paul’s Members
Please fill out a copy of the Sacramental Records Form in the Narthex and return it to office. St. Paul’s is trying to keep an updated file of its members for the sacraments performed at the Parish (and off-site) such as Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, etc.

Prayer during Communion
During communion, a member of Mary’s guild is usually available in the Fireside Room at the back of the nave for prayers. If you are interested in being a presence or just someone to share prayer with, speak to Jen McCabe during coffee hour.

Children’s Ministries help needed…
If you love kids and you love to worship, our new children’s worship ministry needs you! We are in need of volunteers to serve in various areas and roles. For more information, please see or e-mail Cathey Frederick at mamaotter45@gmail.com. A successful background check (done at no cost to you) and Safeguarding God’s Children Training will be required to serve in any capacity. Please pray about volunteering!

Choir practice for the month of February 2020 is on the 13th and 27th at 7:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary.

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper
February 25, 2020, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Skagit Arts Preschool Mardi Gras Parade: 6:15 p.m.

Now is the time! Please see the sign-up sheets in the Parish Hall where you can sign-up to attend, donate needed items, and to contribute to the efforts at the event. Most importantly, plan to come and plan to bring a friend, neighbor or family member to introduce them to our loving and inclusive congregation family. This is the perfect event for first timers to meet all of us and to see what we are about.

EVENTS

FCN: Blood Pressure Check
Our Faith Community Nurses, Barb Axberg and Barb Cheyney will have a blood pressure check, This Sunday: February 9th, during coffee hour here at St. Paul’s.

Inquirer’s Class – SUNDAY!
To inquire, to question and explore, fed by curiosity and the desire to know. Come find out about all things Episcopalian. Fr. Paul will be teaching this 6-session class on Sunday afternoons at 2:00 p.m. until March 8th. (There will be no class on February 16th). Classes are an hour-long except for the last one, which will be an hour and a half. Attend all sessions for full impact, or as many as you wish, if unable to make them all. If you are thinking about officially joining the Church, this is the class you need; however, it is open to all.

Lenten Series based on Barbara Brown Taylor’s book
Wednesday Evenings in Lent (March 4, 11, 18, 25, April 1 & 8) we will gather at 5:30 p.m. in the Parish Hall for some rich community and conversation on An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith. Order your book wherever you buy books or sign up on the sheet in the Parish Hall and we will order a copy for you. Come & see.

Serving This Sunday: February 9, 2020
8:00 a.m. Morning Prayer
Officiant: Karisse Moore

9:30 a.m. Holy Eucharist
Presider: The Reverend Paul Moore
Deacon: The Reverend Dennis Taylor
Music Director: Pam Pryor
E.M.: Dan Niven
E.V.: Mary Ann Taylor
Greeters: Don & Arlene Zimmerman
Lectors: Jen McCabe, Bonnie Schuh
*Coffee Hour: The Schuhs
Counters: Sharon Johnson, Carol Boss
Sunday School: Lara Cole
Sound: Ben Worrell

E.M. is Eucharistic Minister.
E.V. is Eucharistic Visitor.
* Sign-up sheet is in the Parish Hall.

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