Friday, February 13, 2009

You just can't make this stuff up!

If there's anything I've learned in my years of serving the church, it's that all sorts of weird and wacky things happen there. Now I'm not talking about your average run of the mill funny stuff that makes you chuckle. No, I'm talking about the belly laugh, "No way! You gotta be kidding me!!" kind of stuff.

Like when I went to visit one of our shut ins this week at Calvary and he told me about the time the head usher's pants fell down ... as he was standing at the front of the church! And he told me about the time he knocked over a whole row of folding chairs just as the choir finished singing their anthem. Talk about a bang up finish!

Then there was the time our senior pastor first visited Calvary as a guest speaker many years ago. When he got up to the pulpit and started to speak, a stream of obscenities came out over the sound system. He stopped talking and it stopped ... but when he began to talk the obscenities started up again. Five men jumped up and ran to the sound system to change the wireless channel to another one. Turns out, the sound system had picked up a local trucker who was saying some rather colorful things over his CB radio. I told him he should have claimed he was speaking in tongues with a bad dubbing job.

Then there was the time many years ago when a friend of mine was a teenager and was practicing with the thurible at the Cathedral and the chain let go. (For those of you who don't know what a thurible is, it's the metal container on a chain in which you burn incense and sling the smoke around the church) Imagine the thurible, flying hot coals and incense shooting through the air like a comet and he's just praying it doesn't land on a car! When it landed on the sidewalk, he thought he had stomped out all the coals and cinders ... but no, the mulch caught fire and Baltimore's fire department responded to put out the fire.

Or the acolyte who, back in the days before air conditioning, just wore a surplice to stay cool in a hot humid church. But when he bent over to pick something up, the fans which were running blew up the surplice and all he had on were his boxers! A sight the visiting bishop will not soon forget.

Now I'm not saying that every Sunday is this entertaining, but I do believe God lets funny stuff happen in church and I think it serves a purpose. We need to laugh ... it's just that simple. These kinds of crazy things remind us that we are not as self-important as we think we are and there are times we just need to lighten up.

And yes, all of these things really happened in real churches ... you can't just make this stuff up!


Crimson Rambler said...

thuribles are very prone to embarrassing moments. When ++Michael Ramsey visited Toronto, back in the day, he attended evensong at a very 'high' Anglo-Catholic church near the university. The Altar Guild were in a state that you can well imagine, at the prospect of this visit, so they rather overdid the metal polish on the thurible...and the thurifer and boat child similarly exceeded specs with the charcoal and the incense...and when the unsuspecting Rector swung the thing out to begin censing the altar, the whole shebang burst into FLAME. Live. On CBC television. In front of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Reverend Mom said...

ROFLOL! Great moments in fire slinging ... and caught on tape too. Priceless!