Swine Flu Sermon

Preached in St Mary's Cathedral on 26 July 2009

Every now and then you get an event which makes all the clergy telephone one another. It happens when a bishop announces his retirement, for example. Sometimes it happens when someone gets themselves in one of the newspapers, especially in the tabloid press. Not, that it is always wrong to be in the tabloid press. (There is nothing wrong in being in the papers for the sake of the gospel, at least in my book). We call one another up to share news, strictly, I am sure, so that we can remember people in our prayers.

This last couple of days there has been a fluttering of the clerical doocots and telephone wires have been all aglow. Clergy have been telephoning one another and twittering and blogging and all that trying to work out the answer to a basic question.

“But what are we going to actually do on Sunday morning?”

You see, the thing is, this week, we have appeared to get rather confused advice as to how to behave in church at a time of pandemic flu.

On the one hand it seemed as though we were being told to stop using the shared common cup at communion and then later we seemed to be told the very opposite. Similarly with the peace. Do we actually touch one another’s hands at the peace or don’t we?

It has been a confusing few days.

I have come to my own conclusions, which I will share in a moment, but I think I want to say something a little more profound than simply telling you what I think we should physically do.

And I can do that in a oneliner. A simple question. [Read more…]