The Religious Fist Bump
We were having friends over for dinner on a chilly night in October. They were bringing with them their two adult children and their significant others. It was a tradition we had started a few years back and come to much enjoy. We had known these children since they were born and have enjoyed watching them progress through the various stages of life and education.
And now, they were adults sitting at our dinner table, well schooled in the social mores of gourmet dining and holding forth on a variety of subjects with well formed and well thought out opinions. They had both been recipients of expensive higher educations and it showed in their thought and speech. Similarly, their significant others were also well educated and well informed. The conversation was both lively and amusing as challenges and assertions were exchanged and sometimes hootingly refuted. "In vino veritas" often is the great provider of honest debate.
Well into the dinner, the subject of the latest health care “scare de jour” arose, the swine flu. We talked about its cause, getting flu shots and whether or not you can become ill from gettting a flu shot. Even though a bevy of national experts insist that you can never catch the flu from a vaccination, the myth still persists in the general population.
In the course of this discussion the whole notion of how one catches the flu, and its various forms of transmission, arose. We claim that greater use of purell, and other hand sanitizers, works wonders to prohibit transmission of the virus from touching the many surfaces that one encounters in their daily life. Then, we meniotned a really enjoyable concept at Sunday services, “The Kiss of peace.” It is a brief lull in the service when pleasantries are exchanged with those seated around you. It is a much loved practice that has taken root at Catholic Mass. Unfortunately, there are some aspects of it that do not fit well with proper hygiene. Sometimes a person with a cold or flu will cough into their hands just before offering a handshake to a neighbor. The recipient of the offered hand is then caught with the prospect of shaking a germ filled hand or embarassing the person who offers the greeting by refusing. It happens a lot. What do you do?
It was then that the significant other of the young woman offered a great idea. “What about offering a religious fist bump?” he asked somewhat humorously. “It is contemporary, everyone knows what it means and it is much more sanitary,” he continued.
We all smiled at the proposition of an entire congregation offering each other a “religious fist bump” during services. It is catchy, appealing and conveys much the same meaning as the televised version that you see athletes making after a successful golf putt or other noteworthy endeavor. We collectively thought it an innovative and health-worthy idea for religious services in a time when all communities are reeling under the fear and threat of the scourge of swine flu. I thought then also of a biblical quotation “ And the Lord said a child shall lead us.”I remembered too that it always pays well to listen to the younger ones amongst us for best ideas to solving the problems that beset us. Thanks kids for an enjoyable evening.
Joseph Xavier Martin