Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Price of Being Human

I don’t know if I’m concerned or delighted that some folks in the church are complaining about the change to disposable communion glasses from washable glass cups. We made the decision to go to plastic because of H1N1 concerns; some of our seniors were worried that the bleach used to clean the glass cups couldn't strong arm that nasty virus. They didn’t want to end up on a cold, hard slab, because of someone’s infected slobber.

Basic ethical dilemma: Ease peoples’ H1N1 fears vs saving the planet. What’s an aspiring green church to do?

We made our decision to comfort the fearful vs stewarding God's creation.

But now we have a backlash. Not a big one. But noticeable.

“I’m not sure that filling landfills with plastic is what Jesus had in mind when he gave us the gift of communion.”

“We’re spending HOW MUCH on plastic cups when we have perfectly good, washable glass ones?”

“Since when doesn’t bleach kill germs?”

“Do we REALLY want to encourage peoples’ irrational fears?”

The list goes on...and on...and on...

At least we haven’t stopped shaking hands for the sharing of the peace, like some churches. Some churches have replaced handshaking with bowing. Others wave.

What’s next? A fist bump?

What I worry about with the health concerns in the church is that we’re moving away from our understanding of incarnation - the Word made Flesh that is within and around us.

Human contact is what it means to be alive, in relationship. In communion. It’s why Jesus came in the first place; so that God could feel what it’s like to be human. To touch another being. To feel the longing of another’s caress. To feel the joy of when the touch comes at last. And to return that joyful touch.

Yes, we need to take health precautions. That’s why we can’t walk five feet in our church without running into a hand sanitizer.

But we also need to remember who we are, and what our story is. Human connection is risky. We can get hurt. We can lose parts of our selves. We can get sick.

But isn’t that the price of love? And from what I remember, Jesus was willing to pay that price. And he asks us to follow in his steps. He’s just asking that we be human just as he was.

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