I have recently been to a beloved granddaughter’s Confirmation which was a delight and beautiful in every way except the noise of the chatter of the congregation not only before the Service, but actually during it, while people were taking communion.
I had an interesting debate with my son after who said that he couldn’t see the problem, and after all the Bishop had given a very good talk about God not being a killjoy, so what was I worried about? – if I wanted to be quiet that was up to me. I know that God is most certainly not a killjoy, and I go to many services where we worship Him in a loud and joyous way. I particularly love the last words of the Harnhill Friday morning service: Go in peace to love, to serve and to ENJOY the Lord. I have no difficulty in worshipping God in diverse ways, but I don’t think we made a very good job of it last week.
All my long life I have been conditioned to be quiet during a traditional church service, and old habits die hard. Gone are the days when one arrived at church a little early for a Communion service so that one could be quiet and prepare oneself. My concentration is not strong enough to spend a little quality time with my Maker when the decibels all around are comparable to a loud cocktail party. It could in no way be described as holy whispers!
It was a glorious service in a very beautiful church; the girls being confirmed were lovely and behaved in an exemplary fashion; the Bishop and all officiating performed their roles likewise. It was we, the older generation(s) who, I felt, let the show down… My son suggested that even fewer people would go to church if we mind about these things. I think perhaps he is right. What does God think?
My mother was a great one for preserving standards. Happily I am far too lazy to worry about many things that used to be considered important in polite society. Instead I call them priorities and often let them slip. I love many modern ideas and institutions, but I do think that we have to discern when we should stand firm and not ‘dumb down’ things that weaken old fashioned morals and principles. Actually I don’t think God minds how we behave in church as long as our hearts are right, and it is far more important to have a good relationship with Him. Even so, on this particular occasion I think it would have shown respect to the girls and the importance of what they were doing to have kept the noise down.
What do others think?