I never really thought too much about germi-ness until I got married to A-, who is sort of germo-phobic. Despite his insanity with it, and my continuous making fun of his type-A ways (no pun intended) of washing his hands every 5 seconds, I have to give him credit for rubbing off (again no pun…oh whatever) on me a little this past year, which helped me to avoid whatever sickness! I can’t remember the last time I made it through a winter and didn’t catch the flu or some kind of mohm-sahl.
I read or heard somewhere that the germiest places are schools, gyms, and churches. Maybe not surprising, but still…Ew. During the winters here at the church, we actually stop passing the peace of Christ to avoid passing on colds (I profess I have mixed feelings – it just seems over the top, but it has been good fodder for some jokes about providing rubber gloves or doing high fives and chest bumps instead of shaking hands). What’s funny and ironic though is that both the HOS and I end up shaking everyone’s hands at the end of the service during the receiving line…so those towards the end of the line will end up basically shaking everybody’s hands anyway.
Of course, Copenhaver’s chapter on “Shaking Hands” in This Odd and Wondrous Calling resonated with me – it was all too familiar. He writes,
…Christian faith is insistently incarnational. The reminder is right there in the ritual of shaking hands. The word is always enfleshed – in Jesus, of course, but also in the preacher, and just as surely in the worshiper as well…
For me, the grace is the reminder that though exhausting:
it’s often in those small moments of intersection – whether germy or not – that allow for little cracks in that wall between what’s on the surface and what’s below.
Sometimes there’s a look or a question or a quick prayer request…which I maybe never would have heard of unless in those moments. The brief, but gracious exchanges whether a greeting or passing-of-peace allows for connection or at least an opportunity to arrange for more connection…which would never have happened without the extension of hands…
And germiness is easily solvable by using hand santizer or washing my hands afterwards.