Have Church, Will Travel

One of my favorite obediences as a Deacon in the Orthodox Church is bringing communion to the sick and disabled. It emphasizes what my seminary professor used to call, “the ecstatic nature of the Church”; ecstatic, for she is never satisfied with staying put in a box, but is ever moving outward just as we pray that the Holy Spirit is everywhere present, filling all things. No remote or isolated place on this planet is beyond the reach of our Lord Jesus Christ, and He frequently sends his messengers to those places to prove it. No locked doors, not even the strictest quarantine can prevent His healing touch to the health of soul and body which results from receiving his body and his blood.

During the pandemic, our parish by God’s grace has been able to increase rather than diminish activity while staying within state public health protocols. We now serve two liturgies every Sunday each well under the proscribed 40%. We deacons now regularly commune the sick during whatever liturgy we do not attend. It is a practice that the Church has done for centuries, bringing the light of Christ to people wherever they are with whatever they need. It is a reminder to me of the countless health care workers and first responders putting their lives on the line daily to places much more dangerous and far flung.

In our care to quarantine, do not forget to call for help if you need it. Keep home and be safe, but not to the extent of self-isolation and extreme loneliness. Call your local pastor and ask the Church to do for you what She has done for centuries under conditions even worse than this pandemic. For She alone possesses the medicine of immortality, the Holy Eucharist, and her messengers are standing by to bring that much needed spiritual vaccine where it is needed the most.

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