Monday, 16 March 2009

Liturgical giggling

In a recent comment, Joanna mentions that flicking through the chorus book in church can sometimes produce “hysterical fits of giggles.” I was relieved to hear that I’m not the only one who occasionally giggles during inappropriate liturgical moments.

I must confess, there has been just one occasion when my wife and I were forced to get up and leave the building. We were visiting a liberal Lutheran church one Sunday morning, and the entire liturgy was organised as a celebration of Australian rocks and minerals. Please believe me, we meant no malice. We tried—really tried—to suppress our giggles. We grinned during the songs about rocks and dirt (and the “rock” was not a metaphor for Christ: we were simply thanking God for rocks!); we chuckled during the children’s talk (an edifying discourse on the importance of mining and geology); we began to shake and quiver during the greeting of peace (when we were asked to take a rock and compare it with our neighbours’ rocks). But by the time the minister started cataloguing all the different types of minerals in the “prayer of intercession”, my giggles (and my wife’s) had become so dangerously close to hysteria that we spontaneously rose from our seats and ran for the door, clutching our sides in polite terror. I can only hope they didn’t hear the peals of laughter that erupted—a few seconds later—from the car park.

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