Saturday, April 18, 2020

Physical - Not Social Distancing


I stumbled across the Hour of Power broadcast last week and heard the Rev. Bobby Schuller (grandson of Robert H. Schuller, of the same Hour of Power). My father loved watching Robert Schuller and always wanted to go see the Crystal Cathedral, sadly - he never made it there. The Crystal Cathedral is now Christ Cathedral - an actual cathedral of the Catholic Church for the Diocese of Orange in California (Christ Cathedral, 2020). Ironically, when Bobby Schuller moved from the Crystal Cathedral to Shepherd's Grove, it is located in a former Catholic church called St. Callistus (CBN, 2020).

But I digress... I stumbled across Rev. Bobby Schuller's Easter sermon and was struck by him making the distinction between social distancing and physical distancing. The message is that we need to continue to be socially close to each other - while in this time of the COVID-19 outbreak, we need to practice physical distancing to help stop the spread of this virus.

Schuller Is Not Alone

Since hearing Schuller's sermon I did a little research, and he is not the only one making this distinction. Dr. Joe Kort made virtually the same claim stating "We have to stay socially connected through this (COVID-19 pandemic)." He continues:
We can stay in connection with each other on the phone, webcam, and many other online formats. Now is a time to be intentional and interactive and not to isolate. We are wired to be social and luckily can maintain that with technology. (Kort, 2020).
Anderson reports that even the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is changing its terminology to physical distancing instead of social distancing (Anderson, 2020). Continuing, "social distancing implies not socializing; physical distance mans not being physically close."

In another report it is stated that "social distancing is a misnomer." This article continues, "While we must be physically distant, it is crucial we maintain, or even increase, social contact with others during this unprecedented time" (Greenaway, Saeri, & Cruwys, 2020).

Not Just For COVID-19

The concepts of frequent hand-washing and physical distancing we have all been a party to for the past several weeks are and have long been the recommendations to help stop the spread of any virus or other infectious disease. Every year we encounter the seasonal flu, which mutates from year to year. We have figured out how to make vaccines for the flu, but since it mutates, each year we need a different vaccine. Thus far there is no vaccine for COVID-19, but it is expected we will see one later this year, or perhaps next year. The point though is during flu season and presumably, now we may see a COVID season, frequent hand hygiene and physical distancing should be and should have been the norm. Keep in mind, thus far the most recent seasonal flu (for which we have and widely distribute a vaccination) has killed more in the United States (and the world) than COVID-19 has and since it is a new virus there is no vaccine for it (Maragakis, 2020). So again, good hygiene and physical distancing is something we should constantly be practicing. Welcome to the new normal.

References

Anderson, J. (2020). Social distancing isn't the right language for what Covid-19 asks of us. Quartz. Retrieved from https://qz.com/1830347/social-distancing-isnt-the-right-language-for-what-covid-19-asks-of-us/

CBN, (2020). Bobby Schuller helps you find happiness through Jesus. The 700 Club. Retrieved from https://www1.cbn.com/bobby-schuller-helps-you-find-happiness-through-jesus

Christ Cathedral, (2020). About Christ Cathedral. Diocese of Orange. Retrieved from https://christcathedralcalifornia.org/explore/about-christ-cathedral/

Greenaway, K.H., Saeri, A., & Cruwys, T. (2020). Why are we calling it 'social distancing'? Right now, we need social connections more than ever. The Conversation. Retrieved from https://theconversation.com/why-are-we-calling-it-social-distancing-right-now-we-need-social-connections-more-than-ever-134249

Kort, J. (2020). Practice physical distancing, not social distancing; How to cope with the coronavirus quarantine. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/understanding-the-erotic-code/202003/practice-physical-distancing-not-social-distancing

Maragakis, L. (2020). Coronavirus disease 2019 vs. the flu. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Retrieved from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/coronavirus-disease-2019-vs-the-flu


Thursday, April 09, 2020

Jewish Festivals

I was just viewing a Bible study online with Fr. Bill Halbing which brought back memories of the Jewish Studies course my wife and I took several years ago with Rabbi Perlmutter. One thing which caught my eye, which I didn't quite get from the previous course we took, comes from the three main feasts in Judaism:

Pasach - or Passover - coincides with Good Friday.
Pentecost - In Christianity we use the same name - coincides with Christ going into Heaven.
Sukkoth - Feast of huts, or tents - the harvest - coincides with Christ's second coming.

Fr. Halbing then points out - these refer to "Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again." Something which is proclaimed in the Ordinary Rite just after the Mystery of Faith which is the Consecration of the Eucharist. It is good to remind everyone, the Mystery of Faith is NOT "Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again," for those are two statements of history and one of prophecy and there is no real mystery here. The Mystery of Faith, in the context of the Mass, is the Consecration of the Eucharist where mere bread and wine are substantially transformed into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ - THAT is the Mystery of Faith! But, to reiterate Fr. Halbing's point - that which is professed during the Ordinary Rite of the Mass comes to us from our Jewish heritage.

I have not finished this online Bible study yet myself, but thus far I am finding it quite interesting. If you are interested, I am including the video (and a link) below.




Fr. Halbing also does live Zoom meetings on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. You can find more information here:  http://www.godswordalivetoday.org/ 

Holy Thursday

The evening begins with a humble foot washing and before it is over, Jesus stands before Caiphus.

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Why Is This Week Different From the Rest?

Ma Nishtana

Traditionally, during the Passover Seder, the youngest (capable) son asks, "Why is this day different from all the rest?"  Our tradition should be to ask, "Why is this week different from all the rest?"

In the Hebrew tradition, the reading of the Torah in preparation for Passover, the Ma Nishtana is one of 4 (or 3, depending on the tradition) questions asked by the youngest male child. It is a way of involving the children in the lessons/readings for this season - a great lesson we can all learn to help involve our children.

Four Questions

In light of the Hebrew Mishna tradition (Pesachim 10.4) we should have our youngest child ask four questions to reflect upon the events of Holy Thursday.
1) Why is this week different from all the rest?
2) Why does Jesus wash the feet of the Apostles?
3) What happens to the bread and wine?
4) Why is Jesus arrested on this night?

We are taken from the height of praise, singing "Hosanna in the highest!" to the lowest of lows when our Lord is betrayed by one He Himself selected. He is beaten, scourged, forced to carry His Cross, crucified, died and was buried. Oh the grief! Oh the pain! Oh the suffering! Oh that the week would end here!  But while that week ends with Jesus in the grave - the next week brings the Resurrection!

On Holy or Maundy Thursday, we celebrate the First Mass as Jesus Christ celebrated it nearly 2000 years ago on this day. Traditionally, after the sermon the priest in alter christos, washes the feet of twelve men, representing the Twelve Apostles. Then comes the Lord's Supper - the first celebration of the Eucharist. It is that SAME Sacrifice we celebrate today and at EVERY Mass. It is not a repeat of the first - it is that SAME Sacrifice - re-presented for us, just as Christ presented to the Apostles on the same night in which He was betrayed.