No, it's not the title of my forthcoming apocalyptic blockbuster book! Having a swine flu advisor in the family and having received some advice from the powers-that-be on taking communion in the face of the pandemic, it seems we will have to consider how we receive the sacrament. Of course, it only arises if members of the congregation are infected, so at this stage there is no need to panic. It's good to think these things through carefully, without resorting to knee-jerk reactions.
The options are:
Continue as normal with the common cup, but the celebrant uses some alcohol-based handwash.
Take by intinction (dunk the bread in th wine, for those who don't know). This can cause more problems because of the risk of fingers ending up in the common cup.
Receive in one kind (the bread), with the celebrant receiving both the bread and the wine on behalf of the congregation.
A fourth option suggested to me over coffee this afternoon is to dispense with the common cup altogether, and use "those wee cups the Baptists use". I suspect there will be not a few among the flock who will prefer this method.
Here's another controversial suggestion: not having communion for a wee while. That way, at least everyone will have the same complaint: not partaking rather than worrying about the method we use. I don't think the Lord will mind, and it might just make us seek Him that bit more?
I'm at CLAN 2009 for a few days and staying with my oldest friends.
Loads of St Silas' folk are here as punters or are serving the children, stewarding or on the ministry team, and it's been good to catch up with some of them over coffee and food. One even took a speaker to heart and bought Nick and me a sticky doughnut (thanks, Lesley!). If the speaker's words are followed further, the church now needs to pay for our gymn memberships.
CLAN always means meeting old friends - for example the couple from a church I served in the past who never fail to amaze me by their grace and joy in the face of difficult circumstances.
Mark Stibbe spoke powerfully about God's anger, Jesus and propitiation this morning. It was a reminder of the message that we are entrusted to share, and I needed to hear it. I also needed to hear Malcolm Round talk about how to maintain personal momentum in leadership as well as some of the pitfalls leaders face. He based much of what he said on 1 Timothy 6:6-11. Very challenging, practical, funny, and honest ("the testimony of a broken leader"). He spoke from the heart aboout success and failure as well as the hurts caused to and by church leaders. His words resonated so much for me. The session ended with prayer ministry for church leaders who wanted it.
Like my visit to CLAN last year, there have been timely words and blessings offered here.
I've been marvelling at the counsel of friends over the last couple of days as I face some pain in life. Family and dearest/oldest friends have listened patiently and gently (and not so gently) offered wisdom. I am very grateful for them and have been reminded of what is written about friends in the Book of Proverbs:
"Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in
the multitude of counsellors there is safety." (Proverbs
"A wise man is strong, yes, a man of knowledge
increases strength; for by wise counsel you will wage your
own war, and in a multitude of counsellors there is safety."
"Every purpose is established by counsel; by wise
counsel wage war." (Proverbs 20:18)
"Without counsel, plans go awry, but in the
multitude of counsellors they are established."
"Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you
may be wise in your latter days." (Proverbs 19:20)
"Cease listening to instruction, my son, and you
will stray from the words of knowledge." (Proverbs
Ahh, the around forty-somethings are reminiscing today about the moon landing in 1969.
For our generation, this was a huge thing. I can't remember another occasion during my childhood on which we were allowed out of bed in the middle of the night to watch TV. I remember it vividly because my dad impressed upon us that this was something that would change the world. And in many ways, I suppose it did: all the technological advances it took to put a man on the moon, have helped shape our society in so many ways (the onboard guidance computer that got him there had 74 kilobytes of memory that had been hard-wired, and all of 4 Kb of something that was sort of like RAM - the computer I'm using has a wee bit more than that). I'm only disappointed that in forty years human beings haven't travelled any further in space. We had hopes and dreams that by now we'd all be taking cruises around the solar system. Technology has changed so much, but it seems there might be a limit to our human ingenuity and resources that might make it very difficult for us to ever venture very far beyond our own own planet. That makes me a little sad, but it also reminds me of the limitations we face, and maybe that's a God thing?
GV Boy is over the moon, as he got a job today working in the government's swine flu call-centre. It's obviously a temporary post, and it all seems to be something of a rushed job, both for the government and for him. The job was advertised on Friday, we saw it on a website on Saturday and sent in his CV, he got a call at 1pm today to go to the recruitment agency and he begins work on Thursday. It's the first job he's applied for, and he got it. Result! I think he'll do it well. I am now calling him our "Swine Flu Guru".
I had fun at the Springsteen gig. Like me, the crowd was mostly very old. Though our seats were oblique to the stage, we were able to move to get a better view, though I always feel that stadium gigs are a little bit uninvolving anyway.
No support act, but then who needs one when the Boss plays for three hours+? As an opener, my favourite guitarist, Nils Lofgren, came on with an accordion and led us in a rendition of "Flower of Scotland". The set was very enjoyable, even though a few of my favourites were missing (no Ramrod - how could he?). Here's one of my favourites that was performed:
I ended the evening in the Noodle Bar on Sauchiehall Street having a midnight snack with my host. A wee fight broke out on the doorstep. Ahh, Glasgow.......
Apparently I have "slammed" my colleague from St Mary's Cathedral. You have to hate the Sun, don't you? All they did was pick up the Scotland on Sunday story. They didn't speak to me and I suspect the same is true for Kelvin. Mind you, he's quite pleased with his photograph.