As we remind our students, we have chapel services first for worship, but second for training. The teams get feedback on how they lead the service, and since we’re using the "new" liturgy, the students occasionally fumble, but overall, are getting on fabulously well.
Last night, the congregation’s response to the Dismissal was less than stellar, and since it has been several times, I was quite annoyed. So I asked the Michael, the service leader, to dismiss us again, and asked that the congregation be serious and read the response that is provided in the prayer book that they all have. The response is “Thanks be to God!”, and since that is not terribly difficult, I get fairly exasperated when that’s not done well.
So, Michael dismissed us again, the congregation replied in a hearty “Thanks be to God!”, and all was well until Michael showed his appreciation by saying, “Hallelujah!” I quickly said, “Ah-a! No hallelujah; it’s Lent!” which left the congregation laughing.
And as much as it was funny (and I even thought so), the collision of culture and liturgics often leave me puzzled, if not exasperated. Once again, we had no ashes on Ash Wednesday, though the chaplain said we could do it next year. I told her I’d hold her to it. The opening worship on Ash Wednesday featured songs full of alleluias and exhortations to dance for Jesus! I turned to Samson, one of the assistant chaplains, and pointed out that it’s Lent, and neither of those is appropriate during this time on the church calendar. He pointed out that this is Africa, and this is what we do in Africa. I countered with the fact that we’re Anglicans, and that should supersede culture. Unfortunately, I think I will always lose that one.