Ruminations from the back pew | Sunday November 3, 2013

Ruminations from the back pew

There is a curse—they say may you live in interesting times.

I’m reporting back to you from a very dramatic Sunday service this week.

Our society rests on a very fragile bedrock of unspoken agreements: killing is bad; let’s all try not to do that. It is good that people have access to food, water, and shelter. Do not make eye contact with someone you’ve run into at a public venue after you’ve already exchanged hellos. Know when your pew has been purloined; under no circumstances try to negotiate its return.

What will the world come to when we just start chopping and changing these time-honoured traditions, Handsome and Polite Asian Family? You mongers of seat displacement? Just where do we draw the line when someone’s pew hogging is challenged, even rebutted?

The times we live in, I tell you.

Anyway, after my unforeseen departure from the back pew, I ended up next to the tannie who fell asleep during a service a few weeks back. I think my presence spurred her on to new levels of awakeness, so there’s that. And it was nice not sitting through a church service alone for once. If introversion isn’t Hell, it’s pretty close to it.

Someone collapsed during the service. I looked around just in time to see his head bounce off the pew in front of him, and there was a second of horrified humour before it was just horror and that helplessness particular to bystanders. Leon the Swaziland Missions Trip guy, you and your wife, family, and friends are in my prayers, all the more so because I feel like a massive jerk.

The whole episode, plus the recent death in our family and the funeral of one of my mother’s co-workers we attended yesterday, has settled heavily on my heart. Fittingly, the minister at yesterday’s funeral spoke about how we need to look beyond the grave. But graves are pretty deep, though, aren’t they?

Oh, awkward turtle moment of the week: the funeral was held in a Reformed Church (they’re also known as the Doppers). It was my first time at one of their services so, after the first hymn, when some folks remained standing for the prayer, I did, too. I only noticed during the closing prayer that this is apparently a men-only thing.

Rights

So I literally, if accidentally, stood up for feminism. Ahem.

What was your Sunday service like?

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