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Dear Lord and Father of mankind, forgive our foolish ways;
For most of us, when asked our mind, admit we still most pleasure find
In hymns of ancient days, in hymns of ancient days.

The simple lyrics, for a start, of many a modern song
Are far too trite to touch the heart; enshrine no poetry, no art;
And go on much too long, and go on much too long.

O, for a rest from jollity and syncopated praise!
What happened to tranquillity? The silence of eternity
Is hard to hear these days, is hard to hear these days.

Send Thy deep hush, subduing all those happy claps that drown
The tender whisper of Thy call; triumphalism is not all,
For sometimes we feel down, for sometimes we feel down.

Drop Thy still dews of quietness till all our strummings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress of always having to be blessed;
Give us a bit of peace, give us a bit of peace.

Breathe through the beats of praise-guitar Thy coolness and Thy balm;
Let drum be dumb, bring back the lyre, enough of earthquake, wind and fire,
Let’s hear it for some calm, let’s hear it for some calm.


Our church is mighty spiky with smells and bells and chants,
And Palestrina Masses that vex the Protestants.
O happy ones and holy who fall upon their knees
For Solemn Benediction and mid-week Rosaries.

Though with a scornful wonder men see our clergy, dressed
In rich brocaded vestments as slowly they process;
Yet saints their watch are keeping lest souls be set alight
Not by the Holy Ghost, but by incense taking flight.

Now we on earth have union with Lambeth, not with Rome,
Although the wags and cynics may question our true home;
But folk masses and bingo can’t possibly depose
The works of Byrd and Tallis, or Cranmer’s stately prose.

[Here the Organist shall modulate.]

So let the organ thunder, sound fanfares “en chamade”,
Rejoice! For we are treading where many saints have trod;
Let peals ring from the spire, sing descants to high C,
Just don’t let your elation disrupt the liturgy.



A man accustomed to a mainline church went to a seekers’ service one Sunday. He came home and his wife asked him how it was. “Well,” he said, “it was interesting. They did something different. They sang praise choruses instead of hymns.”

”Praise choruses?” said his wife. “What are those?”

”Oh, they’re okay, I guess. They’re sort of like hymns, only different,” said the man.

”What’s the difference?” asked his wife.

He replied, “Well, it’s like this. If I were to say to you, ‘Martha, the cows are in the corn,’ that would be a hymn. Suppose, on the other hand, I were to say to you:

’Martha, Martha, Martha, Oh, Martha, MARTHA, MARTHA, the cows, the big cows, the brown cows, the black cows, the white cows, the black and white cows, the COWS, COWS, COWS are in the corn, are in the corn, are in the corn, are in the corn, the CORN, CORN, CORN.’

Then if I were to repeat the whole thing five or six times, that would be a praise chorus.”

As luck would have it, the same Sunday a young woman accustomed to seekers’ services attended a mainline service. She came home and her husband asked her how it was. “Well,” she said, “it was interesting. They did something different, however. They sang hymns instead of praise choruses.”

”Hymns?” said her husband. “What are those?”

”Oh, they’re okay, I guess. They’re sort of like regular songs, only different.” said the woman.

”What’s the difference?” asked her husband.

She replied, “Well, it’s like this. If I were to say to you, ‘Ernest, the cows are in the corn,’ that would be a regular song. Suppose, on the other hand, I were to say to you:

Oh Ernest, dear Ernest, now hear thou my cry;
Incline thine ear to the words of my mouth.
Turn thou thy whole wondrous ear by and by
To the righteous, inimitable, glorious truth.

For the way of the animals who can explain?
There is in their heads no shadow of sense!
Hearken they not in God’s sun or his rain.
Unless from the mild, tempting corn they are fenced.

Yea, those COWS in glad bovine, rebellious delight
Broke free from their shackles, their warm pens eschewed.
Then goaded by minions of darkness and night.
They all my mild Chilliwack sweet corn have chewed.

So look to that bright shining day by and by,
Where all the corruptions of earth are reborn,
Where no vicious animal makes my soul cry,
And I no longer see those foul cows in the corn.

Then, if I were to sing only verses one, three, and four, and if I were to do a key change on the last verse, that would be a hymn.”



An argument arose between Jesus and Devil as to who was the best programmer. God intervened and said that they would hold a contest to establish forever who was the greatest. For forty days and forty nights Jesus and the Devil tolled over their respective PC's. On the last day, with only another few minutes to go, a terrible thunderstorm arose. Lightning flashed all around. At one point the electrical power failed for a few seconds, the PC's went dead and then restarted. The Devil looked somewhat paler than normal. The storm died down. God said to the contestants, "Let's start!" and drew lots. Jesus was the first. He clicked the start button, the programme loaded and there was an amazing multimedia presentation. By clicking different options the program would do things like go off and wipe off all pornography from the Internet, forgive debts of third-world nations, create Bible translations in all languages. At the end of the program, God said, "that was impressive! It is your turn, Satan". The Devil looked perplexed. He explained that he lost all his programme during the storm, but did not understand why Jesus could still run His. "Ah well" God said with fatherly smile, "Jesus saves!"



A minister was completing a Temperance sermon.
With great emphasis he said,
"If I had all the beer in the world, I'd take it and pour it into the river."

With even greater emphasis he said,
"And if I had all the wine in the world, I'd take it and pour it into the river."

And then finally, shaking his fist in the air, he said,
"And if I had all the whiskey in the world, I'd take it and pour it into the river."

Sermon complete, he sat down.

The song leader stood very cautiously and announced with a smile, nearly laughing,
"For our closing song, let us sing Hymn #365, "Shall We Gather at the River."


A pastor put hot air hand dryers in the restrooms at his church and after two weeks took them out. (Must have had too much time on his hands.)
When asked why, he confessed that they worked fine, but when he went in there he saw a sign that read: "For a sample of this week's sermon, push the button."



C, E-flat and G go into a bar.
The bartender says, "Sorry, but we don't serve minors."
So E-flat leaves, and C and G have an open fifth between them.
[NB “Double-entendre” alert: A “fifth” is an American alcohol bottle measure.]

After a few drinks, the fifth is diminished and G is out flat.
F comes in and tries to augment the situation, but is not sharp enough.
D comes in and heads for the bathroom, saying, "Excuse me. I'll just be a second."
Then A comes in, but the bartender is not convinced that this relative of C is not a minor.
Then the bartender notices B-flat hiding at the end of the bar and says,
"Get out! You're a minor and the seventh minor I've found in this bar tonight."

E-flat comes back the next night in a three-piece suite with nicely shined shoes.
The bartender says, "You're looking sharp tonight. Come on in, this could be a major development."
Sure enough, E-flat soon takes off his suit and everything else, and is au natural.
Eventually C sobers up and realizes in horror that he's under a rest.
C is brought to trial, found guilty of contributing to the diminution of a minor, and is sentenced to 10 years of DS without Coda at an upscale correctional facility.
On appeal, however, C is found innocent of any wrongdoing, even accidental.

The judge rules that all contrary motions are bassless.



Just before the funeral service, the undertaker came up to the very elderly widow and asked, "How old was your husband?" "98," she replied. "Two years older than me"
"So you're 96," the undertaker commented.
She responded, "Hardly worth going home, is it?"

Reporters interviewing a 104-year-old woman:
"And what do you think is the best thing about being 104?" the reporter asked.
She simply replied, "No peer pressure."

The nice thing about being senile is you can hide your own Easter eggs.

I've sure gotten old! I've had two bypass surgeries, a hip replacement, new knees, fought prostate cancer and diabetes. I'm half blind, can't hear anything quieter than a jet engine, take 40 different medications that make me dizzy, winded, and subject to blackouts. Have bouts with dementia. Have poor circulation; hardly feel my hands and feet anymore. Can't remember if I'm 85 or 92. Have lost all my friends.
But, thank God, I still have my driver's license.

I feel like my body has gotten totally out of shape, so I got my doctor's permission to join a fitness club and start exercising. I decided to take an aerobics class for seniors. I bent, twisted, gyrated, jumped up and down, and perspired for an hour.
But, by the time I got my leotards on, the class was over.

An elderly woman decided to prepare her will and told her preacher she had two final requests. First, she wanted to be cremated, and second, she wanted her ashes scattered over Wal-Mart. "Wal-Mart?" the preacher exclaimed. "Why Wal-Mart?" "Then I'll be sure my daughters visit me twice a week"

My memory's not as sharp as it used to be.
Also, my memory's not as sharp as it used to be.

Know how to prevent sagging? Just eat till the wrinkles fill out.

It's scary when you start making the same noises as your coffee maker.

These days about half the stuff in my shopping cart says, "For fast relief."



Grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
and the eyesight to tell the difference.


There was a congregation that decided to have four worship services each Sunday.

There was one for those new to the faith.
Another for those who liked traditional worship.
One for those who had lost their faith and would like to get it back.
And yet another for those who had a bad experience with church and were complaining about it.

They have names for each of the services too:



Thought you might enjoy this little story. Our pastor always begins his sermons with a story, and here's today's...

The Pastor vs. the Organist
A pastor and an organist at a certain church were not getting along. Actually, they had never gotten along. The choir at that church was very quick at picking up hymns and anthems without practicing them, so the organist usually picked a hymn on the spot after hearing the sermon topic.

One day the pastor preached a sermon on committment. Just to annoy him, the organist quickly chose and led the next hymn: "I Will Not Be Moved"

Next week the pastor preached on gossip. Organist's hymn pick: "I Love to Tell the Story"

And then the good pastor next preached on the importance of tithing. The organist chose: "Jesus Paid it All"

By now the pastor was getting discouraged. So next week he talked about how he was thinking of leaving the parish. Our friend the organist chose: "O Why not Tonight?"

So the pastor did resign. In his final sermon he spoke of how Jesus had led him to that church, and now Jesus had led him away. Organist's choice: "What a Friend We Have in Jesus"

Two keys hang in an undertaker's office -
One for the organ in the chapel; the other for one of the cars in the garage.
Two small signs above the keys read "Hymn" and "Hearse."


The Mozart Effect

A recent report now says that the Mozart effect is yet another charming urban legend.
The bad news for hip urban professionals: playing Mozart for your designer baby will not improve his IQ or help him get into that exclusive pre-school. He will just have to get admitted to Harvard some other way.
Of course, we're all better off listening to Mozart purely for the pleasure of it.
However, one must wonder whether, if playing Mozart sonatas for little Tiffany or Jason really could boost his or her intelligence, what would happen if other composers were played during the kiddies' developmental time?

Child speaks rapidly and extravagantly, but never really says anything important.

Child speaks v-e-r-y slowly and repeats himself frequently and at length.
Gains reputation for profundity.

Child becomes a egocentric megalomaniac. May eventually marry his sister.

Child is prone to murderous fits of jealousy if another child plays with his/her toys. Child also suffers never-ending bout of croup and insists it's nothing.

Child marches around his room repeatedly, lines up all of his stuffed animals in a parade, pays particular homage to his stuffed elephants.

Child continually screams--at great length and volume--that he's dying.

Child never repeats a word until he's used all the other words in his vocabulary.
Sometimes talks backwards. Eventually, people stop listening to him.
Child blames them for their inability to understand him.

The child develops a remarkable ability to carry on several separate conversations at once, in various dialects.

The child tends to repeat himself over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.

The child is prone to savage, guttural and profane outbursts that often lead to fighting and pandemonium in the preschool.

The child is able to speak beautifully as long as his sentences contain a multiple of three words (3, 6, 9, 12, etc). However, his sentences containing 4 or 8 words are strangely uninspired.

Child says nothing for 4 minutes, 33 seconds--exactly.
A recent study has determined that the CAGE EFFECT is preferred by 10 out of 10 classroom teachers.



When the Alternative Services Book was published in 1980, some people complained that the language was still not sufficiently modern, and so they provided their own alternative version of one of the best-known Psalms:

The Lord and I are in a shepherd/sheep situation, and I am in a position of negative need.
He prostrates me in a green belt grazing area; he conducts me directionally parallel to non-torrential aqueous liquid.
He returns to original satisfaction levels my psychological make-up; he switches me on to a positive behavioural format for maximal prestige of his identity.
It should indeed be said that notwithstanding the fact that I make ambulatory progress through the umbrageous inter-hill mortality slot, terror-sensations will not be instantiated within me due to paraethical phenomena.
Your pastoral walking aid and quadruped pickup unit introduce me into a pleasurific mood-state.
You design and produce a nutriment-bearing furniture-type structure in the context of non-cooperative elements; you act out a head-related folk ritual employing vegetable extract; my beverage utensil experiences a volume crisis.
It is an on-going deductible fact that your inter-relational empathetical and non-vengeance capabilities will retain me as their target focus for the duration of my non-death period; and I will possess tenant rights in the housing unit of the Lord on a permanently open-ended time basis.

[And some people may think, after reading this, that the original author is probably in an ongoing burial-rotation posture!]


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