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Funny Things That Can Happen In My Church Every Sunday
If you read my earlier hub on the funny reasons why I think becoming a catholic priest is not such a bad idea, then you will know by now that I don’t pay much attention that much to what the priest is saying during mass.
Actually, it is not like I am not paying attention to what the reverend gentleman is saying, it is just that I am so used to paying attention to many other things that is going around me, all at once. Remember I told you then that my mind is always busy and wandering into several areas even when as we are being fed our normal regular Sunday dose of dogmas of do’s and don’ts…
You may want to consider having some mercy for me at this point but before you do that, why don’t you just have to wait to hear me out first and discover some of the things that my wandering mind is always picking out right there in the church.
Who knows, you might start seeing and/or doing the same thing like me when you start seeing these things I see in the church one of these days and you might even start liking them, hopefully! And should that ever happen to you, I can only say one thing to you: “you are very much welcome…”
So with that out of the way, permit me to let you into some of the funny things that can happen in my church…
Priests telling lies
I know these priests they do it sometimes for moral purposes just to make their explanation of the gospel clearer and down to earth but then, it is still a lie. I am not complaining simply because I am enjoying myself though. But some stories these priests come up with sometimes makes you wonder if these guys are not even watching the movies more than you.
Sometimes the stories don’t jell, sometimes the stories become so incredible and you recognize instantly that it is nothing but yarns but sometimes it can become humorous like on this very day when this priest was telling us about the importance of baptism and he spun us a nice yarn about one occasion when one busy priest was baptizing some kids.
He said this priest was in a haste because had another appointment to keep somewhere and he didn't want to be late. And so when he came to this woman who was holding her baby to be baptized, it happened that the baby was suckling the mother and when the absent-minded priest came to them, he stretched forth his hand and grabbed what he thought was the baby’s head which he noticed was surprisingly very soft and started baptizing it.
Unknown (?) to him, he didn't notice that it was actually the woman’s breasts that he was baptizing!
Wow! Can you believe that?
We all knew it was pure yarns but we laughed heartily to it anyway. As for me, I didn’t mind because I knew he was yarning-lying just for us to feel the God vibes. Besides, somehow I believe this very priest has just revealed to the congregation what was on his mind. That’s the way I see it. He might even be that same priest, who knows?
Another dimension of priest telling lies often occurs is in this new ‘trend’ whereby some priest encourage the congregation to turn around and say something nice to the person seated beside you.
I can remember that this ‘trend’ was not the norm in the good Old Catholic church days but with the influx and popularization of Pentecostal churches and pastors, this practice has finally crept into the Catholic Church.
Under the priest’s directive, you are expected to turn around and touch the person beside seated you, and say to him/her something unrealistic things like “you don’t have any reason to worry, your God is not sleeping…”, “your miracle is on the way…”, “no weapon fashioned against you shall prosper…” and many other suchlike statements of faith…
And people would always comply…
And that’s where I start having some problems with the way many people mindlessly repeat such statements after the priest without thinking about the implied meaning and truthfulness of they are saying…
One thing you must know, I don’t have any problems with such acts and statements especially if I am seated in between two very pretty girls. In that case my problem will just be to choose the prettier one to say to something like “all your (but actually my) problems will be solved (hopefully) today in Jesus name!”
Don’t blame me, blame the lying priest...for starting it!
People being afraid to look around
People are so shy! Why? Is it fear or what? I just don't know!
If you want to test this, come to my church and you will see for yourself. You can’t even describe the person seated next to you simply because you are so shy to take a good look at him or her. No wonder some people are in the habit of missing their seats assuming they had any reason to leave it because they could hardly tell who was seating beside or around them. You will see this fine girl and you will try to lock your eyes into hers but she will quickly look away! Lord why?
When it comes to time for exchanging the sign of 'peace and love of Christ' handshake, you will also notice that most people will thrust their palms into yours and before you could get ready to give that hand some nice and solid warm squeeze, they are withdrawing it already! Shit …but it is so funny, kind of!
You will notice that people are so conscious of themselves and this makes them act in that funny conceited way that makes you feel that scaring them just a little by tossing into their pathway something like a toy snake will not be such a bad idea.
People dozing away
Sometimes the sermon could be so f**king boring and the homily too long and you find people surreptitiously dozing off. That is quite understandable considering the fact that some of these people have not even had their breakfasts only to come to the mass and be bombarded with the usual bible stories that happened many years ago…stories they couldn't find themselves in.
I don’t know why some people doze off so soon once homily starts but I know that sometimes some priests are somewhat dull in their deliverance of the sermon and this creates a feeling of drowsiness.
But my own fun part is to watch them toss their heads here and there only to come back with a jerking movement as if the drowsiness just cleared and they just recalled they were not supposed to be sleeping in the church when the sermon is going on only to go back dozing again minutes later and then jerk it again and so the cycle goes on...You know what I am talking about?
One Sunday, one man even jerked his head back, looked around as he recollected where he was and made a movement to wipe the saliva off his mouth and then he smiled sheepishly at me…
I simply smiled back giving him that my pious look. If he really cared to look closer, he will surely see in that affected look of mine, the ‘I know-it-is-not-your-fault-you should-have-stayed-at-home’ statement written all over my face.
People singing funny Latin and other chants…
It doesn’t happen most time because we don’t sing Latin often these days that much but anytime it does like on first Sundays of every month, I don’t want to miss it. The priest choruses “Credo in Unum Deum” and the ‘chanting war’ starts.
Come and see…
People who don’t know the lines so well will join to chant the apostle’s creed in Latin.
But this does not only occur in Latin hymns only. You should also listen in to the responsorial psalms sometimes. You will most likely discover a glaring disconnect between the tune the choir lead singer gave and the response the congregation will produce especially when they want to join the chorus immediately…
Just do like I do, if you can. I prepare my alert ears for the very best of some funny and astonishing praise worshipping tunes…and humming and the croaking too! I tell you, it’s quite interesting, such a collection of weird sounds!
But who am I to judge us? It is all done for the glory of God. Not forgetting my fun though.
People selecting the lowest denomination of Naira for offertory
OK, it’s now time for offertory but I am not standing up so fast to go and make my contribution. I am seating tight in my seat looking around and observing.
I am seeing people surreptitiously digging their hands into their pockets as if they are searching for something and when they find it, they now stand up and join the procession for the offertory.
Actually I think know what they are searching for. They are most likely searching for the lowest denomination of the Naira or something very close for the offertory. This is one sure place where our local five naira, ten naira and twenty naira and sometimes fifty naira notes rule. Note that these small denominations of the naira are all made of polymers so they can be easily differentiated by touch from the higher denominations that are made of paper.
I don’t blame them. Let me tell you what happened to someone I know and you will know why I said I don’t blame them. Remember, I said it's someone I know, not me.
This guy, he wanted to give his offertory. He said that when he dipped his hand into his pocket, he thought he was clutching his ten or twenty naira as usual. What he failed to notice was that he had made a wrong judgment call and the pocket which he thought was holding the ten naira was actually where he kept his one thousand naira note!
Poor boy! He must have discovered this after he dropped the note inside the offering collection box. He told me that later on when he dug his hands into his pocket to ‘feel’ his one thousand naira, he was shocked to discover the polymer ten naira note seating comfortably inside there!
I asked him if he didn't notice he was not holding a polymer note in his hands when he was in the line, he told me he didn't know what he was thinking. I started laughing at him but I was cut short by his next statement when he told me he was not going to be doing any more offering in the church for the next 12 months!
Blimey! It is that serious! Me, I learnt something very necessary from that too. If you ever get the opportunity to seat beside me in the church, you will never see me fumbling around with my pockets. And that’s because I always remember to ‘arrange’ my notes beforehand. Polymers on one side of my pocket, paper notes on the other side! You get…?
Goats, sheep fighting and sometimes…mating
I know I am not supposed to tell you about this one but don’t blame me if I do because I will, blame my wandering mind and eyes which always makes me see these things I do(n’t) want to see sometimes…
On some Sundays, people normally do bring animals like chickens, goats, rams, sheep and yams to the church for offering and thanksgiving.
After they have made their offerings at the altar by presenting them to the officiating priest, the mass servants or the church wardens will normally take these animals away and tie them to a post still within the church premises in the open.
Then the goats or the sheep may start to fight! I always look forward to such fights. And sometimes they even start to try to mate. Yes, right there in the church! Well, I won't admit I always look out for this too.
Do you know the fun part? People (like me) will be watching…Yes, call it animal instinct (in all of us) if you like!
Boys checking out girls’ booties
Don’t tell anyone about this because it is an open secret you are not supposed to know but as I was doing this on one Sunday and I think I got completely ‘carried’ away because of what I saw. O boy! That girl’s booty was the booty! In that very tight black skirt! Oh my God! Sorry, you can only imagine…
Then I suddenly looked up only to discover this other guy some distance away from me who was giving me this ‘what-are-you-looking-at” questioning kind of look.
Damn! I was caught in the act but wait a minute… was that a glee that came up to his face? Why was he smiling?
Oh...wait a minute! Silly boy! I should have known we were both partners in the 'crime' or should I say 'sin'.
I gave him back my own accusing kind of look which says “you-too-you-think-I-don’t-know-you-have-been looking-at-this-wonderful-sight-too?”
The idiot rolled his eyes knowingly and nodded in perfect understanding as he owned up to my unspoken accusation in silent agreement, and then we went back to business – of watching that big thang!
You know it’s not my fault, right? I know I am in the church but why did she choose to stay in my…no, in our direct line of sight?
People refusing to say the prayer of the faithful
Watch this scene. You see the church warden approach this well dressed tall guy or pretty girl (sometimes) with a paper in his hand. You notice a little discussion take place and you see this smartly dressed person fussing and shaking his/her head in an act of defiance or refusal. Then you watch this same drama repeat itself three or four or five more times then you start wondering what is going on.
Actually I think I know what is going on and I will tell you.
Those people are actually refusing to be among those who are selected to say the prayer of the faithful!
This ‘ugly’ refusal trend got a certain level where the catechist had to take over the mike to make a special plea one day. He questioned the reason why many people have formed the bad habit of refusing to come up to the altar to say the prayer of the faithful when they are chosen to do that.
To him, if anybody cannot be able to come up to the altar to say the prayer of the faithful, that person should better stay at home because his/her coming to church amounts to nothing!
Damn…it was such a lambasting and an accusation at the same time.
Many people are guilty of this strange ‘anomaly’. I mean, why wouldn't you accept it as a great honor to be one of the selected few amongst the large congregation present to lead the whole congregation in the prayer of the faithful?
Don’t mind me. I think I know why people normally decline that invitation. It is partly fear, and partly shyness. It is the fear of not knowing what to say exactly which could lead to one mumbling and fumbling in desperate search of the right words as tension sets in and you find yourself lost for words. And then how to deal with the associated shyness that could follow as an aftermath…
So it is much safer you decline on time, simple.
C’mon is it not ordinary prayer of the faithful? Did I hear you say ordinary? Hmm…far from it…
Believe me, when you see these people fuss and shake their heads as they reject the ‘offer’; nobody will tell you why I said it is better you decline.
Wondering how I knew all this? The day I was approached by one of those church wardens with that small white paper where the prayer point assigned to you is written, was the day I truly learnt some real hard lessons.
Immediately I accepted the paper from him, I became instantly lost for no reason as I completely froze up in fear. Many strange thoughts possessed me and I continued to think of what will happen if I get my lines wrong. Tension built up within instantly and continued to mount afterwards. You should have seen me that day. My only thought was “God, why me? Why did this bloody church warden choose me and why didn't i summon enough courage to decline? Please Father Lord, remove this cup from me now, now, now! Father Lord, I promise if you do this for me, I will never sin against you again, just allow this my wish to be done…”
But I shouldn't have worried so much because God actually ‘answered’ to my prayers. Somehow when it came to the time for prayer of faithful, the officiating priest just asked the seminarian with him to read the prayers straight from the missal!
Ha! What a relief! Thank God!
But I learnt something very important as from that day. One, you should never seat at the edge of the rows of the seat in the church especially if you are conspicuously well dressed. Two, you should never seat in the front rows or even near. A nice, sweet and comfortable spot is somewhere in the middle or better still at the back. Do this and you will never face the possibility of such an embarrassment in your life!
At least before those wardens come to your spot, they must have selected enough candidates for the Sunday ‘embarrassment’, that’s the general but unspoken consensual reasoning amongst many of my fellow back-benchers you see in my church.
When I see people subtly declining to be selected for the prayer of the faithful, I laugh quietly inwardly because somehow I ask myself what will they…ok, what will I do, assuming there is a monetary prize attached to that very offer?
Things money can do! Ha ha ha…
I know this is not supposed to be funny besides it only happens once in a while but I tell you if it happens around you, you may just laugh out unconsciously. Someone fainting in the church does not happen that frequently but anytime it does, it is like…wow!
One minute there was silence and the next moment you hear this gasping sound followed by a loud thump as someone slumps and hits the ground in fainting.
Then people around him/her spread out immediately in fear or shock or both before gathering again to see how they could render help to the fallen believer.
Many things could cause someone to faint. It could be hunger; it could be tiredness or general weakness or fatigue. It could also be dizziness. Sometimes it could even a sign of a serious illness like epilepsy or something like that.
One thing I always find funny should there be this once in a blue moon occurrence is the one-off gasping but uncontrollable and sometimes terrifying shout escaping first from the lips of the person fainting and then the instant commotion (usually accompanied with some terrified shouts too from the people around) that will build up around him almost immediately as people spread out and then close in to see how they can help the fainted person.
It’s almost like a program…that’s why it’s funny…to me…in a way!
Children making gibberish sounds…
I love children a lot for so many reasons. You see them in the church; they are so free, they are not shy like the adults and those of them that can walk will freely be moving about, smiling and grabbing at anybody or anything that catches their fancy before moving onto something else or before their parents/guardian comes gathering them for protection and care.
But one thing about children I do enjoy is when there is this silence in the church and then without any warning some child starts making this gibbering nonsense but loud sound or give out a very high pitched shrill.
Some other children could also choose such silent moments to launch into full scale crying and serious blubbing and their parents/guardians, with discomfort written all over their faces, will have no other option than to take them out of the place to some other place to try to calm them down.
People around may have no other option than to laugh. It provides some form of comic relief as well as acceptable distraction…you know?
Someone's phone ringing
Sometimes, you may see the sign written boldly on the walls: Switch off your handset; sometimes you may not. But even if you don’t see the warning, that’s not an excuse for not complying because everyone assumes that you should know and be ready to do the right thing.
So a sensible compromise should be to put the phone on vibration, right? Assuming you are expecting an ‘important’ call as so many girls will often say.
But some people will still forget (or is it fail) to do this.
And they pay the price.
Their phone may suddenly ring amidst such a deafening silence. You see them getting shocked first, then the scramble as they forcefully make a grab for the phone either to put it into vibration or to turn the damn thing off entirely…or even answer the call right there as the case might be.
Come and see the evil looks coming from the people around as they use their eyes to tell this unfortunate person whose phone just rang to his/her face that s/he is very irresponsible.
That’s the price you pay!
These righteous people!
The day it happened to me, trust me, I was very clever. I didn't immediately reach for the phone. I just allowed it to ring. I really enjoyed the dumbfounded looks some people where throwing around my direction but not exactly at me simply because no one could actually pinpoint the ‘stupid’ person that was disturbing the peace with his ‘cheap’ Nokia phone, most likely.
But that’s not all. I wonder what you will say if I tell you that sometimes I purposely dial some people I know when I see them in the church ( I also dial people I think could be in the church around that time so beware if you know I have your number because you might just get a surprising call from...someone like me).
My game plan is just to see them (or imagine them) scrambling for their mobile when the ringing starts for them to receive those evil looks I am talking about from people around there or just for them to give me that evil look when the thing starts vibrating in their pockets and they pick it up only to find out it is me assuming they can see me.
Both ways…there is always joy in my heart!
Are you surprised? By now, you should know that I am very mischievous…
Someone polluting the air…
Damn! This is too bad whenever it happens because there is no way you can control it. If someone must fart in the church, they must do it!
Your only hope is that it is not going to be that type of ugly smelling kind that doesn’t go away with the wind so fast!
You wondering how this is funny?
Well, whenever it happens, if you summon enough courage to look around you as if you are trying to identify the bad guy, you will be surprised to see people who are busy pretending they are not perceiving the bad smell as they maintain their straight faces as if nothing happened with their attention raptly concentrated…
C’mon people, tell me, is it me or are they having some serious problems with their organs of smell?
But I am not fooled. I know that behind those serious faces I see, I believe there could be some heavy collective cursing coming from deep within the inner recesses of their minds and going out to that bad guy or girl that fouled the air!
But anyway, that’s just by the way!
OK, here comes the biggie…
People returning from receiving Holy Communion
If you have only been hearing that angels sometimes walk the face of the earth and you have been dying to see this in real life, then come to my church…
You will surely see people as they move about in that angelic pose I bet you've never seen before as they make a return back to their seats after receiving the Holy Communion and you will immediately start thinking Angel Gabriel or Angel Michael or something of that nature.
One thing I know, it’s such a wonderful sight! What a transformation or is it transfiguration?!
These people, they certainly know how join their two palms together in complete supplication, with their heads bent down and eyes partially closed in that prayerful and completely submissive manner and you will know immediately without being told that this very person you are looking at is nothing but the temple of the Lord because the Lord now lives in him/her.
You really need to see this, especially the ladies.
And I am like c’mon where are my fellow sinners again? My lawd… my Gawd!
Such piousness, such religiosity and humility on display but then I know I can still recognize such pretense whenever I see it.
Listen. There are many other things I usually see, many things that can happen and many other things I watch out for in the church on Sundays but like John said, if I started writing them down, the whole world wide web may not able to contain them.
Besides I don’t want you to start thinking that either I am crazy or I desperately need some deliverance or even start judging me by wondering what is it that I am actually doing in the church every Sunday…that is, if you have not been doing that already!
Ha ha ha…but if you are still wondering what I am doing in the church, like I told you before, I am just catching my fun!