Touchless Eucharist

Holy-water_Like holy water? Don’t like swine flu? Some churches in Italy have a solution: the automatic holy water dispenser. It acts like those new-fangled soap dispensers — in this case you simply place your hand under the unit and it deposits several drops of holy water into your palm. Which means the entrance to the worship space can now feel like a rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike. If you think I’m kidding here’s the article to prove it.

With all the precautions being taken in liturgical churches (I recently wrote a “Swine Flu Policy” for my own church), I’m envisioning a “Touchless Eucharist” — it would be similar to a touchless car wash. Here are the rules:

No ushers. They might inadvertently breathe on worshippers as they hand out bulletins. Rather, the bulletins should be pre-placed on each pew after having been sprayed with Lysol by the sexton while wearing a space suit.

No fonts full of holy water. Instead, they should be filled with a few gallons of Purell. Parishioners may dip their fingers into the holy hand sanitizer to cross themselves. I don’t recommend the Orthodox tradition of then kissing your fingers.

Only one worshipper per pew.

At The Peace, no more hand shakes or hugging (let alone the Biblical “Kiss of Peace”). Not even the Obama fist bump. Everyone just nods to one another creating a congregation full of people looking like those nodding bird toys.Drinking_bird

Communion will be replaced by the Benediction of the Holy Sacrament. This medieval practice involves placing a large consecrated wafer into a bejewelled monstrance. Everyone then gazes upon it and spiritually rests in its presence. In other words, look but don’t touch. Nonetheless the priest will drink a chalice full of cheap vodka that has been set aside to purify said chalice.

The priest will not greet parishioners with the traditional handshake following the service. Worshippers will leave one-by-one at intervals of 15 minutes. The priest will leave first and have lunch in order to prepare to watch football and take a nap.

There will obviously be no coffee hour because there is that woman no one knows who sometimes drinks out of other people’s coffee cups when they put them down for a brief moment to chase their three-year-old around the parish hall.

These are just a few tips to keep everyone safe this flu season. If all else fails just stay home and tune into Joel Osteen.


7 Comments on “Touchless Eucharist”

  1. Solange says:

    Hey, I like all your guidelines. Of course, if church comes to resemble this, I might as well “spiritually rest” at home. Baseball in the afternoon for me, in the proper season.

  2. Lindy says:

    I know you intended this to be humorous but it’s not a bad idea. If we totally automate the sacraments that ensures that they are open to all, and eliminates the need for the clerical class. To be honest, I’m all for it.

  3. Jack Marshall says:

    I think you forgot another option. Why not put Lysol in the incense and fumagate for airborne germs. After all that is how the H1N1 is generally passed.

    For ye of little faith. After the Black Death, the Inquisition, Witchcraft trials, and two thousand new variations on the flu (at least one per flu season) since the Church started; we’re still standing Thank God.

    I agree with Solange…I can more fun at home. 🙂

  4. Solange says:

    Love Jack’s idea to boost the incense with some Lysol. I can see it now – as the thurifer walks the aisle swinging the thurible, the people in the pews go down like dominoes from the combined fumes.

    And try to say “the thurifer swings the thurible” five times fast.

  5. Father Tim says:

    Cleansed from sin AND germs. Bonus!

  6. CG says:

    where is your source that the Orthodox tradition is to kiss your fingers?

  7. Father Tim says:

    Hi there, CG. I’ve simply seen this on several occasions. No “source.” I take it this is not part of your experience or tradition?

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