There may be an unwritten truth that I feel I need to speak about and within that truth lies a confession that I must acknowledge.
See I’m quite sure that lost in translation, or buried deep in a Dead Sea scroll must be a promise, a covenant, from God. It would go something like this:
“I am the LORD your God; follow my decrees and thou shalt not be inflicted nor infected with anything harmful while in the house of the LORD. This is My covenant to My people.”
A little history:
When I was in college, I took a lot of pre-med type courses; my favorite subjects were the biological sciences. The most memorable and life-altering course I took was Microbiology. Memorable because I adored my professor; he was smart, wise and grandpa-ish. I could not get enough of him and the class material. The class was mentally stimulating and I was always on my toes since my lab partner was a klutz. I was forever on guard and calling out “SPILL!” when my partner tipped over beakers of ominous creatures. Those moments were really like a mini epic version of the movie Outbreak. Ahh, good times!
As for life-altering… well let’s just say that I never saw germs and their ever present presence in the world and my life the same way again. In fact I have grown into a bit of a germaphobe, all because of this class. It’s a phobia I have to constantly keep in check so I don’t become like Howie Mandel (oh my gosh, I love that guy!). I think Dr Phil would technically call this “mysophobia” (anxiety disorder characterized by an overreaction to the slightest uncleanliness or an irrational fear of dirt, contamination, or defilement), BUT Dr Phil is wrong; to my knowledge he didn’t take Microbiology and thus does not know what I know. Therefore, everyone SHOULD be fearful of germs and not label the smarter people, like myself and Howie, because of our normal cautious behavior.
Whatever you want to call it, I think this is exactly why I think God must have made a covenant with His people about the germs. Surely He would want His people to enter the temple and not be preoccupied with germs. Back in the “olden days” (eg: 1400 B.C.-ish) people had to be banished from Israelite-Tent-City after touching a dead animal/body (and probably being contagiously sick). Fast-forward to the 21st century, we don’t quarantine people to an island while they are sick (although I think you can get stuck in a country or sealed-in room if you have Swine-Flu). In fact, for the most part, infectiously sick people are free to roam the healthy world; which includes church. Thus, I feel like we are supposed to be protected from harm of germs in God’s house.
Today I liked the greeters at church. Why? Because they were not the “I must shake your hand” greeters. Rather they were the contemporary head-nod-welcome greeters – good people! But in contrast there is a husband/wife team of greeters that insists on shaking my hand every Sunday. No matter how I attempt to fidget with my Bible, purse and sunglasses in a show of how “unavailable” my hands are – they won’t let me get past them without a handshake. It’s a greeters barricade! And when I submit, it’s not even a simple handshake, it’s a grab my hand then put their other hand on top of my hand – kinda like a hand prison. And then I don’t know what to do, because I realize they have shaken a million other hands, covered with who knows what, and I am contaminated. Okay, a million is an exaggeration since my church isn’t that BIG – but they very well could have been in contact with a million various germs.
Should I get out my sani-spray and openly spray my hands, thus announcing to everyone in eye-shot, and God, that I do not believe in the anti-germ-covenant? Maybe just a quick trip to the restroom for a 20 second wash (or I think your supposed to sing Happy Birthday while hand-washing …or was that brushing my teeth?) In either case, I do neither because I want to believe God protects me with the unwritten covenant. And my faith is not done being tested at the door; there are communion trays, offering baskets, communication cards, seat-back pens and if your church isn’t hip with worship songs on a screen – hymn books. I don’t need to spell the problems with each of those items – you’ve already got the picture. When it comes to communion, which my church does each Sunday, there is a reason I sit in row 4 or 5. Actually this is a lie about why I sit where I sit, but let me tell you – it’s a huge benefit.
PS: if Pastor Jeff ever comes to shake my hand, regardless of how many hands he already shook, I’m always ready to offer my hand – cause let’s be honest – we love our pastors giving us individual attention.
PSS (shameless plug): have you been to RHCC (Rolling Hills Christian Church)? If not, get there fast! You are not gonna want to miss the new series HOSTAGE. You can sit with me in row 4 and stay germ free – I’ll even offer you hand sanitizer and gum because thats how much I love you! Plus this is just an incredibly great church that loves Jesus and You; and the added bonus is that you won’t have to wear a visitor badge or anything else that will give away that your just checking things out. Oh, and you can wear jeans and drink coffee (and tea, frappuccino-shakes, soda, Monster, Rockstar, etc…) IN church – that’s right – it’s just that great.