I was going to write a different blog but thought that what happened at church yesterday was so amusing that it was worth recording, and perhaps allowing myself a little artistic licence, for posterity’s sake. Firstly, because funny things rarely happen in our church, unless you count the time I got my finger wedged into the radiator at George and Helen Orlebar’s wedding, or when mum dropped a bag of maltesers down the wooden church aisle during the quiet moment in communion. People were still crunching them under foot a week later. Secondly, because it would be a lot shorter than the original blog.
Anyhoo. So there was the visiting preacher, who off-stage was a funny, affable chappy, but on stage, he was pretty dull, telling anecdotes with the charisma of a school nurse. Someone had obviously told him that morning church finished at 12:15 and the evening service, 7:45. He therefore obviously felt it his bounden duty to continue the sermon onto those times, instead of wrapping up at a reasonable pace and allowing good time for hymns, grace, banter and a cup of tea afterwards. The morning service was dreary enough, with mum deciding to yawn loudly at 12:15 and several other members decidedly clearing their throats, which is the universal mark of Christian disapproval. It wasn’t what he was saying that was dull, but it was the monotone he used and his lack of suitable and appropriate emphasis on his funny stories which meant that, even in our church, with its appalling sense of humour, no-one laughed.
The evening service was worse; his prayer was so long that (gratuitous name-drop here) Daley Thompson’s granddad fell asleep and, when we all said amen, he stood up for the last hymn, thinking the sermon had been said and done. Except veryone else was remaining seated for the collection. By the time the sermon had gone on for about half an hour, with anecdote after anecdote sandwiched in without a shred of variation of tone, most people were asleep. Even our more vocal Pentecostal contingent were not to be heard amen-ing or "that’s right"-ing anymore. 45 minutes later, the preacher seemed to warm up slightly and we thought he was wrapping up. Nu-huh. People started clearing their throats, rummaging in their bags and looking at the clock.
Then it happened. The preacher said: "Blah blah blah & And then Christ will come in Glory and bring the last days to an end." Immediately, one of our elderly gentlemen, a usually quiet chap, yelled out: “Yes, Lord, bring an end to all things.”
The church trickled to life with a murmur as some of us laughed aloud while others uttered holy “Ohs” (especially those who wanted to laugh but were not sure whether it would be allowed). The preacher blinked. The corner of his owlish mouth twitched. Then he started to chortle. “I think that wraps that up”, he said, and shut the Bible.
IN OTHER NEWS
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That Sink-ing feeling
I am so cute!
The finer things in life