Hi. My name is Keith. You haven’t noticed, but I’ve been watching you ever since I squeezed past your knees to get to the middle of this pew about 9 minutes ago. I want to let you know that today God has preordained you to be blessed in a very special way. As of now, you have passed my peripheral inspection and I will actually hold your hand during the Our Father. Before God formed you in the womb he knew you, and before you chose this prime pew real estate on what seemed like a normal Sunday 11:30 Mass, the angels have been leading you ever closer to this hand communion. During the Our Father here at St. Dude the Nice we normally all hold hands lovingly, as you probably know because you look like you come here often. Not like, in a bad way though.
Now I want to let you know, I don’t just let anyone hold my hand. Have you heard of MRSA? It’s scary stuff. And its an evil in our Church that is literally leading people to Satan.
But you… You look clean.
But not too clean. I sat next to a guy once who looked too clean. I didn’t trust him. Feast of St. Stephen, day after Christmas. He had a Michael Vorris look to him. Didn’t hold his hand. Nope.
But you. You have all your teeth and a holiness that really shines in a totally humble and profoundly charitable way. Well, actually I really just noticed that you are wearing a scapular.
Oh hey, First Reading… It always creeps up on me.
Okay let’s talk general guidelines real quick.
First. We will by no means be interlocking fingers. Interdigitation is for hippies. If you try something like that I will end our mildly-intimate physical prayer contact so fast you’ll think I was Pope Urban the VII.
Second. I’m not a fan of hand-raising at the words “For the kingdom and the power…”. If you are, well good luck there buddy. I know two things for sure.
1: The small old women at this parish are conspiring to kill the prime minister of Malaysia.
2: My hand will stay firmly at upper-mid waist level.
If you got some beef with that, you can take your liturgical non-sense down the street where they sing Lord of the Dance, says me. I’m going to stay at waist level because I love Jesus. Plus I work out and can think heavy. You really want to attempt to hold this beast of a forearm up that high for that long? I pray a lot of rosaries. And Father could be feeling particularly saucy today, audible, and then sing the Our Father. What then?
Thirdly. My hands get real sweaty. Don’t clasp my prayer digits too firmly. We aren’t going to prom. I’m not going to buy you dinner.
As long as we are good on this 3-Point System, we won’t have problems. Who knows, maybe next week I’ll sit near you again. Maybe a pew in front of you. And when you see me not holding hands with Karen, that Mom with lots of kids and who knows how much bacteria on her grimy grubbies, we’ll make that knowing eye contact during the sign of peace and you’ll feel the warm embrace of sweet divine affirmation. And we’ll give each other a quick nod and hand shake and you’ll remember this day as the day Keith allowed you to hold his hand during the Our Father. It’s a big day for you. Are you ready for it? Do you feel the consolation?
I’m definitely staying as far away as possible from Felipe the Usher, who’s partially deaf and would hold my hand through the dismissal if I let him. Gross.
Alright here we go. Show time. Oh, one last thing.
Don’t. Even. Think. About. Hugging. Me.
Your Temporarily More-Than-A-Stranger,