The worship social hour

Can I get something off my chest?

I’m trying really hard to work through my worship issues. I really am. I’m trying to acknowledge when something isย myย issue rather than placing blame on someone else. But sometimes, I don’t think it’s my issue. Let me share a story from last month.

The Sunday before Christmas, Drew and I took a trip to the United Methodist Church in downtown Tallahassee. There’s just something about Christmas carols on a pipe organ, and it’s become a tradition for us to find a church with one during the Christmas season. We settled into the balcony and enjoyed the view looking down at the 100 year old sanctuary. As a Bach prelude boomed out of the pipes, I closed my eyes and relished in the music of my favorite time of year.

As the service began, my attention was drawn to two women sitting a few rows in front of us. They whispered back and forth to each other. They continued all the way through the offertory, a beautiful organ and flute duet. This struck me as slightly rude, but I closed my eyes and tried to shut them out, focusing on the melody of The Coventry Carol (one of my favorites). Every time I opened my eyes, they were still whispering. I gritted my teeth, growing more annoyed with each passing minute.

I thought for sure they would stop when the offertory did. No luck. The whispering continued into the sermon, all the way to the end. I was stunned… and greatly frustrated.

I don’t think I’m too off base saying that this is incredibly rude and disruptive; rude to the people who have worked to put the service together, and disruptive to everyone around you.

I watch while people come to worship and greet neighbors during the music. They have a conversation behind someone deep in worship, or someone who is trying to be. If you politely ask them to be quiet, you’re often seen as the rude one.

Some people might think it’s okay to talk during the music. It’s not. Even if it’s an offertory or something you’re not actively participating in, it’s still an act of worship. And you’re tromping all over that person’s beautiful gift to God.

Don’t even get me started on whispering during THE ENTIRE SERMON.

C’mon, people. Yes, there is a social aspect to church, but that shouldn’t take place during the service. Don’t disrupt someone else’s worship time.

Worship should be sacred and holy. Let’s treat it as such, and start by being considerate of those around us.

7 Replies to “The worship social hour”

  1. Well, they were in the balcony, clearly the talking section of the sanctuary. ๐Ÿ™‚

    My church does not have a nursery, just a cry room in the back. (The church even has a note in the bulletin saying that parents should teach their children worship, but that there’s a cry room in the back if they become ‘animated.’) So when my wife and I take my 4 and 1 year old kids to church, we sit in the very back (with the other families with young kids ๐Ÿ™‚ ) and try to be quick to remove the 1yo if she fusses. The 4yo, on the other hand, is old enough to be quiet and still (though she colors during the sermon). However, if she forgets herself, we’ll lean over and whisper hushed reminders. We try to be mindful of other people sitting nearby, but I’m sure we have disrupted other people’s worship. Hopefully not for too long.

    1. I have grace for kids. They’re still learning. Adults who should know better, not so much.

      I applaud you for teaching your kids worship. If you’re quick to take the crying one out, I doubt you’re disrupting much. I’ve seen some parents let their kids cry and cry without moving outside the sanctuary. That’s a little more disruptive. ๐Ÿ™‚

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