For the last two months I’ve been serving communion in worship regularly. During this time, I’ve become increasingly aware of moments up to touching the bread and wine. I’ve noticed over time that some people are not aware of what they do with their hands leading up to handling the Eucharist. I am always concerned about hygiene before handling food. I am especially aware of my impending bread holding since it’s right after the passing of the peace.
So here’s a couple things for you the leader to be mindful about leading up to communion.
1. Hand Sanitizer
Keep some hand sanitizer where you are sitting in the chancel area or behind the altar. Use it discreetly, but make sure you use it. You have just shook at least 10 people’s hands and they have shook others; passing the peace is also a game of “share the germs.” By using hand sanitizer you are helping stop the spread of illness. In my current congregation they have hand sanitizer in each pew for everyone to use. Also, make sure you use a hand sanitizer that won’t rub off on the bread and make it taste chemically.
2. Be aware of your hands
I once saw a pastor sneeze into his hand and 5 minutes later pick up the host; I did not take communion that day. The congregation is aware of the moves the worship leader makes, the leader should too. Don’t touch your face, sneeze into your hands, rub your eye, or pick your nose. This is all common sense stuff, but sometimes people get so comfortable leading worship that they forget. So be mindful of your hands. Sneeze properly (see the video below) and if you do touch anything before touching the bread use the hand sanitizer again.