Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ashes Awry - Ashes Aright

She-Twin's been talking about it since Sunday.

"On Wednesday, I want to go up and get the ashes on my forehead!"

When asked if she understood the symbolic meaning---that it wasn't merely a forehead-focused variety of face-painting---she responded in the affirmative, and with conviction.

Our church isn't huge in number, but they are huge in heart. Getting the congregation out consecutive nights for an annual traditional Shrove Tuesday pancake supper and an Ash Wednesday imposition of ashes service is impractical, and unlikely. As such, Lent kicks off with Wednesday pancakes downstairs, followed immediately by a litany-rich service upstairs.

In our experience, fits of giggles rarely come at appropriate times. So it was last night. During the calls and responses. During the prayers. During the scriptures. Despite their best efforts, our sausage-stuffed siblings' shoulders shook, their heads were bowed (not in prayer), and their snickers were poorly stifled.

Then the inconceivable happened: as He-Twin leaned over in an attempt to suppress his laughter at a particularly poignant moment, a toot. Clearly audible from our nearly-front row of seats, surely it was heard by pastors and parishioners alike. Then, Mommy's shoulders shook. Her head was bowed. Her snickers were poorly stifled. No doubt all of us were mentally reciting Double Daddy's oft-repeated chestnut: "He who toots in church, sits in a pew."

At service's end, collectively embarrassed, we knew apologies to our much-loved ministers were in order as we departed the sanctuary. Yes, they'd heard...both the giggles and the gas...and yes, they forgave.

Sarah, so upset, was crying. "I never want to come to Ash Wednesday again. We were just awful."

Amazingly, isn't that what Ash Wednesday is all about? Acknowledging our shortcomings. Voicing our commitment to do better. Being forgiven.

We Lages do tend to learn things in the most unusual ways. Our genuine apologies to our church family for our collective lack of self control. We will try to do better.

Amen.
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9 comments:

Amanda said...

That is a riot...Of course the times we are suppose to be quiet, are often funniest of times. The harder you try to keep it in the harder you have to let it out. We have had many of those moments in church!

Barbara Manatee said...

ha! oh my....

Church with our 3 lil ones can sure be interesting (if not stressful) some days! Adam kept wanting to practice his newly learned letter this past weekend by yelling at me "Mommy! Make a C! /c/ /c/ /c/ comb!" (saying the sound) while poking me with his pencil and paper. The weekend before, while sitting in the front pew, he kept trying to run up on the altar!

nikki said...

This was fantastic, both because it is a hilarious story and because it illustrates the core truth we take time remember on Ash Wednesday.
I've been reading your blog for a long time, but felt like posting for the first time, tonight. Thanks for all the wonderful stories and laughs.

Andrea said...

A story you will remember forever! ;-) You will be telling his kids about this one.... no doubt! I agree....at least it can be turned around as a life lesson! Really is too funny! :-)

Terra said...

oh man, I can picture the scene (glad I can't smell it) and well, I am certain all is well...

Cheryl Allen Salinas said...

I love this! And sweet Sarah's reaction to it! Brings to mind my next door neighbor, Sherri's daughter, Lizzy at the age of 7 or 8. She was digging deeply into her nose during a service. Sherri kept whispering to her to "stop it right now!" Finally, exasperated, Lizzy voiced, loudly, "But I've got a booger!"

Holly Ann said...

How funny! I can only imagine as we do not attend church. Thanks for sharing. :)

Rebecca said...

I don't care how old you are, farts are funny...no two ways about it!

Betsey said...

bahahaahaaha. This sounds like my family! Only with four boys 4 and under, there would have been a loud, proud proclamation of

"I beefed out my butt!" followed by hysterical laughter and squeals of "That tinks. Tinky! Get the spray."

We are a classy crew. Glad to know we're in good company =)