We interrupt for a special public service announcement for all ushers, greeters and generally friendly congregants in church:
Please do not shake my hand in church!
I know you all mean well, but I must tell you why I would prefer a hearty, “Welcome to Church” verbal greeting and a sincere, warm smile as I come through the door sans the firm hand shake.
I am that one in a million people who is allergic to the flu shot. I’m not a germophobe per se, but it’s that time of year again folks and it does not benefit me or you if we pass along a grievous epidemic of nastiness between the two of us just because you wanted to shake my hand at church. Even if you get your flu shot, I might be the “spreader of germs” without knowing it and I just don’t want you or anyone else to get it. If I feel sick I will stay home from church, I know that may sound sacrilegious, but I follow a basic school rule:
If you’re sick, stay home. If that rule applies at daycares, and schools it should apply at church. (I would appreciate that same courtesy from those who sometimes spread the flu bug joy around at church rather than miss the Pastor’s message.) Get a good Sabbath rest and get well! God will understand if you miss a Sunday. The Pastor will understand if you miss a Sunday. You might even get a phone call from him to see why, and that’s a good thing!
I also suffer with a bit of arthritis and whenever you shake my hand, especially you hearty hand-shakers, I want to whimper rather than smile at your heartfelt greeting. Greeters take special note when you shake a senior’s hand. I’m in denial about being “senior” but my body sometimes likes to act like one. So, a nice gentle pat on the shoulder, or a side hug may go over better. No hip checks!
I’m not telling all you wonderful people to stop being friendly and stop shaking hands with one another. If my arthritis isn’t acting up and it’s not flu season, I’ll join in! I just ask for some sensitivity if a person (like myself) avoids shaking hands at times and prefers your warm smile in greeting instead.
Lastly, unless I’m your wife, mother, grandmother, aunt or sister, it’s never okay to greet me with a “holy kiss”. (Romans 16:16) It may be biblical, but I’m vetoing it, especially during flu season 🙂
This has been a public service announcement. Now we can resume our regular worshipping activities.