Churches across the land are all in a quandary upon the unfortunate onset of the H1N1 virus, which has presented some delicate logistical issues regarding the distribution of communion sacraments. The once-popular practice of passing around a loaf of whole-wheat organic artisan baked bread is no longer kosher, given the potential hand-to-hand spread of the virus (although I suppose the passing of the bread could be preceded with a healthy squirt of hand sanitizer).
To solve this problem, my own church, a fairly button-up Presbyterian number, has settled on passing out small squares of bread – the squishy kind that usually goes in to turkey stuffing recipes – as a substitute to the pass-around loaf. But not everyone in the congregation is satisfied with those tiny cubed morsels.
“Why don’t they try croutons?” my daughter suggested. She has a point: a crispy and sturdy square that is easily handled, distributed and consumed. Perhaps a flavored crouton could even be introduced at some point, if the pastors warmed up to the idea.
I tried to picture those viral-free croutons on Communion Sunday, being safely meted out from a holy dispensing unit into the congregant’s eager hands as they line up to receive the sacrament. Upon returning to their seats, the pastor would then instruct the congregation, in unison, to partake in the body of Christ.
“I think the crunch would be distracting,” I finally said after a couple moments of reflection. My 17 year-old daughter rolled her eyes, confirming once again that the old people are squelching all the good ideas in church these days.
Ours is not the only church looking for sanitary solutions to communion. In fact, Wired magazine reports that the H1N1 has spawned a holy innovation war of sorts in the communion business, with a lawsuit breaking out by the maker of a germ-free communion-wafer dispenser called the Communalabra.
Check it out: according to the article, the Communalabra delivers unprecedented technology known as “the “rapid reload system” for fast wafer loading and the “quad-rotator technology” allowing up to 400 wafers to be dispensed without having to be refilled.”
The maker of this hallowed hi-tech device, however, is accusing its former president of patent infringement. (Honestly, I thought this irresistibly tasty story was relevant to my readers since it has all the elements of a blockbuster news story: the mash-up of strategy, spirituality, and scandal)
You can read more about the brouhaha surrounding the nifty Communalabra here. Unfortunately, it sounds like his body really is broken.