Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Responsive awkwardness

It occurred to me once again how the things we say in church services lose guests.

I say once again, because i first recognised it when attending the morning service on my own. At the start i had little idea what exactly i was meant to do and when... and i was meant to be in the church loop!

I had no idea what to say during communion. I couldn't "sing the eternal hymn." Who knew that you had to stand during hymns, or that you could stand prematurely? I didn't know to recite "thanks be to God" after "this is the word of the Lord..." I didn't know to say the "and also with you" to the minister when he informs me that the Lord is with me. I was fortunate if i could mumble the Lord's Prayer! Worse... who decided that you stand after the offering and sing a song which we're all magically meant to know!

Well, I've noticed it again... Liturgical awkwardness.

The moment when visitors, or people new to church, have no idea what's going on.

People mumble words in unison at seemingly random points. No words on the screen, no warning that it may be happening.

Do i have an answer? No, not really. When you go places for the first few times, stuff is different.

When you go to the RSL they turn to a torch each evening and recite a poem. Seems odd to an outsider.

Places have unwritten customs, church isn't immune.

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