Some Thoughts on Christian Etiquette, Part 2, by Pr. Mark H. Hein

BJS has found this series of articles written by The Rev Mark Hein. He is in the process of updating them and they will be published here. Part 1 of this article is available here.

Church Etiquette? What is that all about? Aren’t there more important things our church and our pastor should be doing than promoting etiquette? Well, you decide for yourself how important and relevant is the information provided in this series. As you will see, what we are talking about is more than just etiquette far more!

Part 2 – “Love” as the Key Ingredient

In all parts of our Christian life, love is the key ingredient. However, that love does not begin with us or have its origin in the world. Rather, it has as its fount and source the perfect love, abounding and ever-abiding love which God has shown toward us in Christ Jesus. It is the love of our heavenly Father who gave His only begotten Son as the one perfect and all-sufficient sacrifice for our sins. It is the love of our Savior, Jesus, who willingly went the way of the cross for us, suffering for us, dying for us. It is the love, divine love, which drenches us in holy baptism. It is the love, divine love, which now occupies our hearts and our homes. Indeed, such love – divine love – now drives our thoughts, our actions and all our words… everything we say and convey… it is ALL based in love… Christ’s love.

St. Paul declares, “For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:14-17 ESV)

So what does love have to do with etiquette? Everything! It is the driving force behind it. In Part 1, we noted that etiquette is defined as the rules and conventions governing correct or polite behavior.” Why do we follow such rules? Why is it our desire to engage in polite behavior? To have good manners? To follow established protocol? To respect and keep customs? To do all things with propriety and decorum? The answer is love. We do it all out of love first and foremost for the Lord our God and then, secondly, out of love for our fellow man.

With love comes proper etiquette because love – divine love – rules out being rude and crude. It rules out being uncaring and unkind. It rules out speaking about that which does not concern us. Love rules out being impatient and intolerant. It rules out putting someone down or speaking against them or about them behind their back.

As love – divine love – rules many things out, so too, it also insures that other things are present. For example, where there is divine love, there is going to be self-control. There is going to be discipline. There is going to be structure. There are going to be rules and there will be the faithful following of the same… all out of love.

We pray – O Lord, help us to do all things out of love – Your love for us, Your love in us. Help us to think before we act… before we speak… and do all things in ways which are pleasing to You and in keeping with Your Holy Word and will. This we pray in Jesus name. Amen.

In Christ,
The Rev. Mark H. Hein
Pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church
Lockport, Illinois

Posted in Etiquette permalink

About Pastor Mark Hein

Articles can be found here The Rev. Mark Hein is pastor of St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Lockport Illinois, and also fire chaplain for the Lockport Township Fire Protection District. This year, he will celebrate twenty years in the ministry in addition to previously serving ten years in hospital administration. St. Paul's, Lockport, hosts the monthly meetings of the Northern Illinois Confessional Lutherans (NICL) for their ongoing study of the Lutheran Confessions. St. Paul's has a very active chapter of the Brothers of John the Steadfast. Pastor Hein hopes to work with the women of his congregation to establish the first chapter of the Society of Katy Luther (BJS sister organization) possibly to be launched during the 2012 Festival of the Reformation.

Comments

Some Thoughts on Christian Etiquette, Part 2, by Pr. Mark H. Hein — 21 Comments

  1. Amen, Pastor.

    Yes, LOVE is the proper motivation for ushers to enforce the rules.

    So often in our society, “love” is confused with “condoning all behavior”. The MSM and the public scruels maintain that we can’t just tolerate homosexuals, for example, but that people must accept their behavior. The majority of ecclesiastical supervisors in the LCMS accept that pastors under their charge will do things like practice syncretism & unionism, have open communion, and make up their own creeds – because evidently to really do something about the rot in the parts of the church their are called to oversee would be ‘unloving’. Typical parishioners sit by and do nothing while parents let their children mark up a hymnal with crayon or tie its ribbons into shreds, because to actually say something like “excuse me, that’s your son playing with our hymnal, isn’t it?” would just not be ‘nice’.

    But is it really loving to be such cowards? Luther gives us a great guide in his family devotion on Galatians 6. He points out that if someone is just bothering YOU, you need to “bear his burden and so fulfill the law of Christ.” So, yes, Dutch, I agree we should bear the burden of the developmentally disabled, those who can afford only rags, or the slightly annoying brother with body odor or bad breath. That’s fine. But Luther goes on to say that in love we are OBLIGATED to speak up to our brother and warn him whenever they are offending not us but the Holy Spirit. This people do when they barge over others who are trying to confess their sins and receive absolution, allow their children to make loud noises while people are trying to hear God’s Word, talk in a conversational tone while people are trying to pray and mediate before the Divine Service, or otherwise hinder His holy work of calling, gathering, and enlightening His flock.

    Exceptions always make bad law. Acting according to the exception is the Achilles’ heal of modern liberal governance and our culture that has been so formed by its ideology. But this approach lowers standards for everyone and then Old Adam acts accordingly. So, yes, let’s be loving an understand their are EXceptional cases.

    But let’s not ACcept them as the norm. Instead, speaking the truth in love, let us do good for our brothers by upholding good church etiquette, that those who worship not be unnecessarily distracted from their Lord, and that those who offend the Holy Spirit be mindful of a holy God who is doing holy things.

    It’s the loving thing to do.

  2. My dearest brother Phillip,
    I have never viewed the time I spent at Bethesda Lutheran Home, the homeless I met at church in London, the elderly I speak with, the autistic I know, and the abused I have counseled, or as you say those who posses “odor”, or my little boy, AS A BURDEN, FOR SHAME FOR SAYING SUCH A THING. Quite the opposite, as I know, MY LORD DID NOT LOOK AT THESE AS A “BURDEN”. They, have always been, and will always be an HONOR AND A PRIVILIGE for me!!! You comment on marking things with crayons, and such. This is about THE WAY OUR LORD VIEWS LOVE AND RESPECT. To which, I actually agree, but I never forget, those I know that will never understand or be capable of being “polite and normal” for those who think as you do. I wonder, if my husband and I, with our little boy, who could not hear, who had the receptive speech of a 9 month old at 4 years, who had “fits” because he could not convey his pain or discomfort, what you, as an “elder” would have done to us? That is not YOUR hymnal, that is not YOUR pew, THAT BELONGS TO YOUR LORD, NOT YOU, HIM. After my little boy, had surgery, a TOILET FLUSHING, inflicted pain, because of it’s volume. Imagine what that 4 year old felt when the organ at church, made it’s first cord?! The pain he felt, so should we have stayed at home and avoided a Divine service? Would you, in your “courage” have asked my husband & I to leave, because our little boy felt pain? No, speaking is much different than action, those with this point of view, would have commented to those who would listen, as to what you thought of us when we had departed. My son, my Papa, my brothers & sisters at Bethesda, the homeless in London are not an Achilles heal. THEY, BROTHER, ARE CHILDREN OF CHRIST, JUST THE SAME AS YOU & I ARE. THEY ARE NO EXCEPTION TO YOUR “RULE” THEY ARE CHILDREN OF HIM WHO BOUGHT THEM…AND US. Have a care before you speak on things you have no knowledge of. You & I serve at our church FOR HIM AND FOR HIS SAKE NOT FOR OUR OWN. You mention Galatians 6, try reading the book of James. Do you have any idea, how your brothers & sisters at the mission churches in England, Scotland, Wales, Germany, etc PRAY FOR SOMEONE YOUNGER THAN 50 TO ACTUALLY ATTEND A SERVICE?! My guess is you do not. I do, have I personally been to many. Phillip, brother, think of those who know not was it is to fit in, who never will know what it is to be “the norm” on this side of the fence! They set their eyes on things above, as should we! I have so many things, horrid things, thoughts, words, and deeds that will be shown to me, when I stand before HIS throne, this CANNOT AND WILL NOT BE ONE OF THEM, FOR ME. Oh, that I were as they, they sometimes, know more and understand more than you and I ever will.

  3. Just as an aside, my time spent at Bethesda Lutheran Home and doing “Shut In ministry”, was part of a SERVICE REQUIREMENT for my confirmation, before the 5 page written exam I took in 8th grade, also a requirement for comfirmation and and elder meeting to explain the results of that exam (I got a B+ by the way, three yrs worth of, not too shabby.) The rest, I learned IN confirmation and from the same Pastor from his pulpit, Rev. Richard R Schaefer, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Wales, WI and my MUM & darlin’ DADDY. Pastor Schaefer, is now at Home with our Lord, as well as my Da’, and I look forward to the day, I can stand with them, hug them both, and say “thank you” to Pastor & MY EARTHLY FATHER, for their love, instruction & all they taught me. I would like to think I was taught well. Phillip, I BEG YOU, step out of your own shoes and walk awhile in your brother’s or sister’s. You may learn a thing or two along the way.

  4. Dutch,
    please re-read Phillip’s response.

    “He points out that if someone is just bothering YOU, you need to “bear his burden and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

    The way I understand this is we take the others person burden not that the person IS a burden.

    FWIW
    John

  5. I think it is rather interesting the direction(s) that people have taken in response to my first two posts on the subject of church etiquette. In my posts, there is no pointing of fingers, simply the pointing to the love of Christ in which and through which we live and have our very being… in which and through which we act in ways which are pleasing to our Lord. We act out of love for Him and for our neighbor.

  6. Dearest John,
    I re-read this, and read it over the phone to more 4 other people, who do not own computers. The others I have forwarded it to, happen to be at work, but are just as insensed as I. Why? Because people like us, fall between the “normal, well mannered, well behaved” cracks. Trust me, I would never post here, without knowing of what I speak. Considering I have SEEN THIS WITH MY OWN EYES in more than this country, I feel apt to make a post.

  7. Pastor Mark did not engage in finger-pointing in his posts, and Phillip did not call people with disabilities a “burden.” He spoke of all of us bearing the burdens of others. I’m an English teacher with a MA, and am quite familiar with the nuances of the written word. Dutch, I’m afraid you are letting your emotions rule your replies and are not reading the responses carefully. Finding four other like-minded people to agree with your misinterpretation of Phillip’s reply does not make it any more correct. Still, I am in complete agreement with your assessment of those with disabilities and how churches do not always help these people, but please don’t misinterpret other’s comments in order to fuel your argument.

    Some of the replies to these posts on church etiquette are starting to remind me of Claudius’s response to “The Mousetrap.”

  8. E-Raj,
    I was unaware, that educational & theological backgrounds were required here, that fault was mine, I never felt compelled to do so. I, for my part, am just a member, who is watching their synod & church implode. For many, many reasons. I only know what I see when I visit ELCE and SELK mission churches (overseas), those churches I visit those when I travel here in the States, and refute and counsel those, with horrid experiences that are related as reasons (sometimes, honestly, excuses)for departing the LCMS, church in general, or the Christian faith and Christ altogether. I will leave the more learned than I, to debate the finer points. Emotional, yes, quite so, to that I whole heartily admit. Rules, law, order, are VITAL, but so are sympathy, compassion, and empathy.

  9. Dutch,

    Who said there were any requirements to post here? I only gave my teaching qualifications to ensure you of the intended meaning of the “burden” quote from Phillip. I wasn’t trying to lord it over anyone. Being a teacher isn’t exactly a vocation that is valued in today’s society – most parents treat us like glorified baby-sitters. Anyway, I just wanted to make sure you understood I was trying to provide clarification on a comment in order to assuage your frustration from it. I believe we are on the same page when it comes to our concern for our synod.

  10. Seriously, the thought of Jesus declaring ownership of a hymnal would be an even better reason than the ones I had for leaving the crayons at home.

    Which does not mean that I do not empathize with your son’s problems, and yours (which seem to be greater), only that there are better ways to keep him occupied in the service than allowing him to draw on the hymnal someone else will want to use later. If you think it’s necessary, please pack your own book to color on.
    [I would say the same to those who have no disability but a failure to have been taught respect for common (or “the Lord’s”) property.]

    Did nobody suggest mufflers for your son while he adjusted to sound? (I am assuming that was the purpose of the surgery.)
    I wear hearing aids, so I am not unacquainted with discomfort from overly loud sounds. I concede that I am more able to understand the adjustments I need to make.
    I am sure people have not always been as understanding as they could have been. Is it possible that you have occasionally expected that you had a “right” to be more disruptive than necessary?

  11. Let me clarify something things here. As, I don’t care for the direction this is post going in regards to son. I when I post on this site, tend to use the experiences OF OTHERS, I KNOW, HAVE SEEN, TRAVELED & MET, SPOKEN TO, or ENCOURAGED, coupled with that OF MY OWN. These, tend to be forgotten or thought after. If you attended a church, where we & our little boy were present, you would never have know ANYTHING was wrong with my son. Okay, there was the time the church had trumpets & full organ in the middle of the service, which we PROMPTLY TOOK OUR SON OUT OF! LOL. We always sat as far from the organ pipes and pulpit as we could get. No hymnal, info card, pew, or any other property at our church or elsewhere was ever defaced, ruined, or disrespected BY ME, MY SON OR MY FAMILY. My sons, FEAR!, LOVE!, & RESPECT! THEIR THEIR LORD, CHURCH, IT’S PROPERTY, THEIR ELDERS, AND THOSE AROUND THEM!!! They are quite proper little gentlemen, with impecable manners and DISCIPLINE. I would be rich indeed, if I had a nickle for everytime I was told I was too strict, or was complimented on my sons’ manners and conduct, both in public and in regards to their chruch and their Faith. (The phrase “do you want me to take you outside” is well know by our sons). But, they were also taught to LOVE AND RESPECT ALL, NOT JUST THOSE LIKE THEM, BUT THOSE WHO ARE NOT. Like the gentleman in Philadelphia last month, who was homeless and had a sign saying “HELP ME”, that same little boy who is spoken (so poorly of) in THIS POST, begged his parents for a dollar to give him. WHY?, he knows we entertain angels in disguise! But, we must never forget, there are those, who’s physical or mental disability, cannot be lumped in or ASSUMED to be “badly brought up or have a lack of respect”. A cross or cruel comment or word, does damage untold to such as these! My son, was hardly one of those, who has been used so poorly as an example, and if I gave that impression, I HAVE DONE A DISERVICE TO MY SON, AS WELL AS THOSE, WHO ASSUMED AFTER, THOSE LIKE HIM. We need to temper our thoughts, words, and deeds both in our Lord’s house and outside it, with encouragement, love, correction, and admonishment, as our LORD taught us, to have and use. I have read Mollie’s post on autism, the odd thing is though, I haven’t seen it referred to or “tempered” here, why is that I wonder? There are a host of illnesses, that cannot be explained, let alone, “managed” for the “comfort” of those who suffer it or for the others around them. It was NEVER MY OR MY SON’S RIGHT, as Helen put it, to be disrespectful ( WE NEVER WERE, WE ALWAYS ASKED AFTER IT WITH OUR PASTOR), in any way, to excuse a disobedient child, OR ADULT, but, it is not the RIGHT of ANYONE ELSE, to judge a situation that you may have no knowledge of. If we visited your churches, what would a family like in Mollie’s article meet with? When our son’s eardrums ruptured during a service, and he flayed and screamed in pain, what would you have thought or said of us? Our Church was the one place we could go, and count on (for the most part) our son would peacefully fall asleep (overstimulation) and when he could hear, not be complained after when he sang the Doxology LOUDER THAN OUR PASTOR WITH HIS MICROPHONE.
    I was singing a solo once, the Lord Is My Shepherd, in the front (where the piano was & the old melody) when an elderly, long standing & well respected member, proceeded to stand up, and start screaming & cussing about “…funeral durges, and fat lot that is…”, etc. I shot a look at my Pastor, and watched as the ushers LOVINGLY NOT FORCEFULLY, led him into the narthex. What to do now?! I finished, and sang very loudly “goodness and MERCY” and when I was done, walked calmly to the back, and asked “is he alright is there anything I can do?” I was told, “he is having a rough time right now, the only thing you can do is just pray for him”. I wonder, what would Helen, Phillip, or E Raj would have thought or said? I did what I WAS TAUGHT & INSTURCTED, TO BE GOOD, RIGHT AND TRUE, to LOVE and be MERCIFUL, to FORGIVE AND NOT JUDGE WHAT I CANNOT SEE OR KNOW. As I judge, so will I be judged! All I can say, is say what you will of me, but I ask & beg, really, to consider and not speak ill of people (adults & children) like our little boy once was, or that ederly gentleman, and those who will be forever like them or worse, and those less than us “normal” people, with love and a care and a bit of thought. From what I read, our Savior did and does!

  12. “with love comes proper etiquette because love-divine love-rules out being rude or crude. It rules out being uncaring or unkind. It rules out speaking about what which does not concern us. Love rules out being impatient and intolerant. It rules out putting someone down or speaking against them or about them behind their back”

    This is a part of the article, ya know, the one Pastor Hein wrote?! I don’t post here, but I do read it. I never would’ve read any of the others posts about this. But I did this time. Dutch, I am going to be alot more careful about what I think when I go to church tonight. Thanks.

  13. Dutch,

    All I tried to do was explain my two previous comments (@7 & 9), but instead of trying to understand and take it to heart, you ignored it and continue to force the issue by bringing my name up (along with Helen’s and Phillip’s) and using innuendo to assume we would have thought ill towards the gentleman who made the outburst (and others with disabilities). You’re the one who’s judging, not us. You’re judging us by what you’d think we would do. Please quit accusing others based on your assumptions of their actions. We don’t need to be scolded by you.

    Effective communication requires the effort of all parties involved, and you’re not willing to participate to that extent. You’re posting your own comments and not even considering what others are writing before doing so. I don’t even know why I’m writing this, except to end my participation on this particular thread. It is no longer productive, in my opinion.

  14. Dutch,

    You wonder what I would have thought or said when that incident happened to you. One can never know for sure, but I hope I would have upheld the standard I outlined in my original post: born my brother’s burden. I would have been very glad the ushers removed him from the service, and I would have been relieved to have discovered that the gentleman was mentally disturbed and, presumably, getting help rather than just being obnoxious toward you and breaking the Third Commandment. I would have had pity on him, but would have also been glad that his BEHAVIOR was not tolerated by the ushers or simply accepted by your fellow parishioners. (How would you have felt if everyone just decided to let him have a jolly good row at you while you tried to sing rather than hushing him up?!)

    I think where we disagree is that you seem to think that everyone who behaves poorly only does so because of disability or special needs. I maintain that most people who act insensitively toward others can do better.

    I’m still perplexed as to WHICH SPECIFIC BEHAVIORS in my example you believe I draw the wrong conclusions.

  15. Phillip,
    My husband has made posting on this site “verboten” as he does not view the way comments degrade on this site as befitting our church our the Faith. But, as there needs to be one VERY CLEAR POINT understood here, so he said I could just one more time. If you are in doubt, look at the ‘free for all/insult session’ in the comments on “A Hill to Die On” and those are pastors, the ones to by whom we are taught. The only thing I will address here, in regards to me or my posts, is what you so wrongly assumed about that sweet old man at my church. That sweet man, was in no way, shape or form, was “mentally disturbed”. He was an elder member of the laity, who ministered at a VA hospital. He buried three dear friends that same week, and guess what hymn those “buddies” all picked? That would be the one I sang on that Sunday. Overcome, overwhelmed, heartbroken and grieving, you bet, mentally distrubed, not in the slightest. Not by my mind anyway. That gentleman, who truly was one, rang me that night, told me what had happened, and I listened as he cried, for his friends, himself, and for what happened at church. He was afraid of me, the other members, and was afraid to return to church. I can honestly say, it was because he knew people thought what you just said, all I could say, was I didn’t. He mentioned the people sitting to his left & right, whom HE KNEW THEM ALL FULL WELL, never said or did a thing,(I saw the whole thing unfold & heard the comments afterwards). The ushers? That would be the task, and the elders that followed them to the narthex? Also the task, burden no, honored task, yes. I waited for him that following Sunday, he never came. I called, he was to embarrassed and afraid to come back to church, (gee wonder why) I ENCOURAGED him as best I could, and then called our Pastor. Guess who I waited for and sat next to the following Sunday? Needless to say, we became dear friends after that. I look forward to seeing him back at Home. You proved my point perfectly, we use, EMPATHY, SYMPATHY AND COMPASSION BEFORE WE ACT OR SPEAK TO ONE ANOTHER. We do not assume, we ask in care and concern for them first, ourselves second. At least, that is what I was instructed to do. I will miss posting here, but after today, maybe not.

  16. Dutch,

    You are not taking the word “burden” according to how it is used in Galatians 6. What you described in your account was bearing your brother’s burden, and it sounds like you did so commendably.

    Either way you want to have it – mentally distrubed/distraught/having a breakdown OR breaking the Third Commandment by despising preaching and God’s Word – you behaved lovingly, applying Law and Gospel. You can move the ball all you want, Dutch, but the law of love still applies. Was your friend in the former camp? Then love should motivate a Gospel response. Was he in the latter camp? Then out of that same love we need to speak the Law.

    That’s all I’ve been saying here: love should be our proper motivation, whether we need to apply Law or Gospel.

    Only in this way, by God’s grace, do we “bear one another’s burdens and fulfill the law of Christ.” (Gal. 6:2)

    I’m sorry you don’t agree with my illustrations. Perhaps I should have chosen different ones. But I thought the suburban upper-middle class parent allowing intelligent children to destroy church property was a fair example of where one might speak Law. I still haven’t figured out why that offended you so much.

    The other illustrations involving burden bearing were examples of where we speak Gospel. And yet those offended you too.

    If I may say so in love, Dutch, I have found in my own life that if I put the best construction on what my brothers and sisters in Christ do, say, and write, I tend not to get offended. You talk of walking in other’s shoes. May I suggest in turn that you allow other’s words to mean what they say rather than what you feel they imply? If you seek to understand your fellow Christians, you’ll find you’ll get worked up much less often.

    You are leavning now because you and your husband have drawn certain conclusions about those who comment here – and, yes, there have been a couple of threads that have been disappointing. But I find it odd that someone who was willing to be so kind and bear so lovingly with someone who behaved so shockingly while you were trying to sing the Lord’s song in the Divine Service is now withholding all sympathy, empathy, and compassion from Helen, Mollie, Pastor Hein, E-Raj, John, and many others here at BJS.

  17. Maybe the ultimate etiquette in the church is to place the welcome mat at the door and mean it. After all, that’s what Jesus did. Maybe the ultimate rude behavior is to bar half of the world’s population (and I the female half) the opportunity to participate fully in the life and ministry of the church– beyond teaching Sunday School, cleaning up after communion, and baking cookies. Isn’t such marginalization a breech of etiquette? And let’s see….??? Who actually fits in? Actually, all people who bear the human condition fit in. Well, maybe NOT John the Baptist in those wierd clothes and with that long hair, and maybe not Ruth and Naomi because they might be, well, you know, more than friends.

    Yes, as someone deeply involved in worship and liturgy– it DOES drive me crazy that people don’t know how to behave in church. Pre-service can be more like a gathering in a high school gymn– and then there’s cell phones, and annoucements, and politics–
    “And the angel said unto them: Fear not! For behold I bring you tidings of great joy which shall be to all people.” If we love them we can acclimate them to worship– and maybe we’ll learn something from them as well. We don’t need to turn ushers into “brown-shirt” enforcers. Now, forgive me for saying it– but some of the worse behaved in church have collars. They think the pulpit is a talking head soap-box. They think a wealth of living musical and liturgical tradition should be scrapped because they learned four chords on a cheap guitar. (Don’t get me wrong. A LIVING tradition by it’s very nature includes new expression. So, church etiquette— I’m all for it– but to be polite, let’s start with inclusivity and not pick and chose who’s in and who’s out according to prejudices and social agenda. The Holy Spirit may just be leading us– the Sustainer is not our pet dove in the cage of our inability to conceive and grow.

  18. My husband is not a Christian. It took me a lot of effort to get him to come to a service. When he did come he was very much distracted by children playing with such noisy toys during the service that he was unable to hear most of the sermon and even during prayer, the reading of the scripture the loud banging noises continued. Now, my husband loves children. It was during a time when Sunday School was not in session but I kept wishing that soft nerf-toys or picture books had been provided by the parents. What this communicates is that “my child” has a greater right to their freedom, than you have to a sacred time of worship when you can hear the “still small voice” of God in your heart or the calling of the Saviour to draw you to Him. Plus, it would seem to instill a sense of the holy ground which we enter, awe and wonder for the child if they were taught to understand that God, Himself is present “Let all the earth keep silence before Him.” After all, we teach them to whisper in libraries…

  19. Last night at our Ash Wednesday Service I sat down in the pew immediately after communing and was distracted from my prayer by two senior citizen aged men, both long standing members, discussing the Big Ten Conference basketball standings and outlook from two rows behind me. They were talking loudly I guess so they could hear each other over the organ and handbell choir accompanying a hymn. It’s not just the children who need to be taught some etiquette.

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