This is something that happens in my church once in a while – thankfully not each and every Sunday but it happened this evening and… can I just growl for a minute please?
When the service ends, people tend to stick around and chat. That’s a good thing, right? Fellowship. Sometimes light, sometimes deep conversations. Sometimes it’s a question of someone needing a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, someone to pray with them. Or people sit and discuss stuff from the sermon. Or catch up on each other’s lives. All sorts of conversations.
But how are you supposed to do this when the organ is being played, and loudly, filling the whole space with the sound of unwelcome, unnecessary, inappropriate to the moment, music?!
I’ve been to churches where there’s music played before the start of the service, as a kind of preparation – done well, this can help people to put aside the thoughts they came in with, and start to get still, to focus on God. But at the end, when everyone is chatting, the music is just a hindrance, an annoyance, it gets in the way of hearing each other – several times I had to ask someone to repeat what they’d said, because of that organ playing so loudly.
Or sometimes it’s been the worship group singing a song, which to me is even more of a distraction when talking to people – music on its own is bad enough, it would even be ok if it was less loud; but a song means words as well as music, and that makes it very difficult for me to concentrate on what the person I’m talking to is saying, when I’m hearing words being sung.
Is it just me? Does anyone actually find this sort of thing a blessing? Can anyone point me to something positive about this?