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.

11 Comments:

Joanna said...

Love it! Beyond our chorus-related giggling, my husband once disgraced himself when a very posh-spoken English fellow, reading one of the psalms in church, referred to the 'wild arses leaping for joy'. Andrew was still giving vent to snorts of laughter a good twenty minutes later.

Andrew Faris said...

I realize that you are talking about Australia and not America, but I tell you what: this sure doesn't make it difficult to see why liberal denominations are dying so fast at least around the States!

I suppose once you stop thinking that God or the Bible actually matter much, you run out of things to talk about each week and settle for rocks...

saint egregious said...

Oh, I hope they did hear the peals. It might have rocked their world to know someone was taking the liturgy seriously. But you had to chicken out--some witness for 'no fear of death' you make!
Something tells me you'll get the last laugh yet.

J. R. Miller said...

I wish you could have shote some cell phone video.. I would die to hear it LOL

Anonymous said...

I think my best (and worst) experience of this sort of thing was the pastor in my old church who had watched the film 'Braveheart' the night before and was so inspired that he held the entire service (including heart-felt alter call) in a horrendous, fake Scottish accent.
Isaac

Chris Donato said...

Brings new meaning to Matt. 16:18, no?

Anthony Paul Smith said...

Yeah, my favorite part is when people talk about how they hope for the resurrection of the dead. That shit is so funny! Gets me every time.

Chris Donato said...

Yet another perfect example and fulfillment of Acts 17:32a. The scandal is his glory, every single time.

Ben Myers said...

Actually Anthony, you might find that God has the last giggle on that one...

Anthony Paul Smith said...

Actually Ben, you might find that every liturgy is pretty ridiculous if you just step back in the same self-righteous way you and your wife did at the rock one. Have you seen the latest Big Love? Hilarious.

saint egregious said...

Okay, I'll confess. I once read a Barth sermon stem to stern from the pulpit and passed it off as my own (I added a few 'jiminy crickets' and 'can I get a bouh-ya' to cover my tracks). Twice as long as my normal paltry anglican tripe, I had a few grumblers and snorglers in the pews. But after the service, the meanest, the ugliest, the nastiest father-raper of them all came up to me and said: Kid, I didn't like that sermon. Usually yours are so much more clear and interesting and, you know, they get me to think. That one just kind of droned on and on.'
Oh, the joy, the rapture. Ben, can you simply imagine the beatific glow that surrounds me to this day? Now whenever I get to feeling blue, I just dust off my collection of Puritan sermon collections and plot my next move..

Oh, and I once heard a presbyterian pastor give an entire 25 minute sermon in Dr. Seussical nursery rhyme. I grrrd and piffled all the way home. Why hadn't I thought of that?? Calvinists be damned. I'm sure being right on that score will make 'em plenty happy.

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