By now, you are no doubt aware that Baylor has extended spring break by another week due to outbreaks of COVID-19, and up until Holy Week, no classes will be held. As I’ve been teaching through Peter’s First Epistle this Lent, I’ve been reminded of the calling of the chosen people of God to be an obedient and priestly people in the midst of a perishing, defiled, and fading world. Peter’s word to the Church is to keep focused on the very center of our salvation: Jesus Christ, who is imperishable (more so than gold or silver), undefiled, and unfading. We are a people who have been washed in the blood of Jesus, made a royal priesthood, exiles who live in two worlds: one, in the midst of an ever-changing world, the other, in the perpetual vision of the Father beheld by Jesus Christ the Lord, the true end of all human life. In times of disease, just as at any other time of distress, this truth becomes even more evident. You and I cannot simply survive these times. An obedient and priestly people must offer up the world to God and offer God to the world. Baylor professor Rodney Stark has called attention to the way Christians held true to this calling in the midst of pagan Rome: “a miserable, chaotic, and brutal” time. While many ran for the hills in the time of plague, Christians cared for the sick, staying in the midst of these miseries, and all without soap! Stark’s view is that without these plagues, Christianity might not have become the dominant force in the empire. It was a major opportunity! Rooted in living communion and fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ, these early Christians set a great example for us, that we should be unflagging in prayer and worship, as well as unflagging in care for our neighbor. So no, we won’t be closing our doors at Christ Church. Consistent with Bishop Reed’s instructions, those who desire to receive communion can do so, and the common chalice will not be denied to anyone. If you would rather not receive from the chalice, simply leave the rail after receiving the host. If you are feeling unwell, please email the parish office to make arrangements to receive communion at home, as well as prayers and anointing for healing. We are also happy to make arrangements for those self-quarantining to receive meals and deliveries of needed supplies. Please let us know if this is needed. Other than that - normal precautions are advised: wash your hands before entering the church and often throughout each day for 20 seconds, refrain from touching your face, eyes, and nose, keep human contact to a minimum, and if you feel you may be getting sick, call your doctor. Every Sunday in Lent, we will continue to pray the Great Litany, as Anglicans have since the 16th Century. In that litany of prayers, we pray: From lightning and tempest; from earthquake, fire, and flood; from plague, pestilence, and famine, Good Lord, deliver us. We continue to pray that the Lord will deliver us from all manner of disaster, and continually call us to faithful obedience and endurance while making great offering of this world before Him.
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