Coronavirus Ramble for Kirwan Uniting Church Keep in Touch pew sheet 8 March 2020

Psalm 24 Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? Those who have clean hands …

I’ve put a couple of handwash bottles at the entrance to the church. Pretend it’s holy water, but instead of crossing yourself with it as you come in, squirt and rub vigorously on your hands. I’m sorry that precautions against COVID-19 have intruded into our fellowship together, but we have to be like the disciples in Matthew 10, to whom Jesus said, “ I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” The coronavirus makes wolves look like your favourite fluffy puppy. We should make some changes in the way that we greet each other, too. Perhaps elbow bumps instead of handshakes, or air high fives or air fist bumps instead of the real thing.  At the Peace before Communion next month, we’ll turn round and greet each other from our seats instead of our usual sacramental walkabout.  We don’t offer communion by intinction at KUC (at least, I don’t) nor from a so-called common cup, or chalice, so we don’t need to make any changes to distribution except that the Elders and I will give ourselves a liturgical squirt of holy handwash before each cohort of communicants come up to the Table.

Again, I’m very sorry that we have to distract and detract from worship in this way. Our membership demographic is particularly at risk of an infection producing a severe outcome.

But one precautionary measure gives me a lead in to our Sunday topic for the next five weeks. You might know that you’re supposed to wash your hands at home with soap and as hot water as you can tolerate, scrubbing away for twenty seconds. To help you know how long is twenty seconds, it’s how long it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice. But wait! The traditional words of The Lord’s Prayer, recited with suitable solemnity, also take twenty seconds. Much more edifying. And by a singular coincidence, I’m preaching on The Lord’s Prayer for five weeks leading up to Palm Sunday 😊


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