This is the kind of brief "news" story that makes me (a) laugh out loud and then (b) once I have laughed out loud, a wave of depression crashes in and I am tempted to rethink my opposition to the death penalty. I work and teach on a university campus, which means that I spend untold hours watching young people use cell telephones and meditating on how these devices are changing our lives. Pop test: name creative ways that cellphones (with digital cameras) might be used to cheat on tests. Anyway, it is in this context that I pass along this item from The Living Church. I cannot provide a URL for this because a friend (a recovering Episcopalian stuck with a lifetime subscription) scanned it in. This comes from an organist-choirmaster in a parish that was not named (for obvious reasons):
When it's time to receive communion, it is our custom for the choir to communicate first, so here we are, all kneeling at the communion rail, me last in the far corner of the L-shaped rail. Five or six people removed from me, and around the corner of the L at an angle from which I can see and hear everything, is one of my basses. As we await our turns, from deep within the folds of his choir robe, this fellow's cell phone announces its presence by playing a spirited version of the opening measures of the Finale of the William Tell Overture. By the second -- extended -- playing, he has fumbled through the ample recesses of his garment (he is a large man) and extracted the offending instrument. He mutters a few words into it, closes it, redeposits it in the depths of his robe, and receives the wafer on his tongue.
I am appalled but think, "Well, that ends that." No. The best, as the saying goes, is yet to come. As the chalice bearer approaches, this dolt's phone rings again. Experience being the best teacher, he answers on the first ring but this time begins a conversation! As the chalice arrives, he says (I'm not kidding), "Wait a minute; I'm taking communion" -- the chalice-bearer is standing there, waiting patiently -- and takes the phone away from his ear. With his other hand, he guides the chalice to his lips, takes a hurried swig, and returns to his phone conversation.
There isn't much else to say. But I sense a Washington Post Style cover story on the way! I wish I could write it myself. So this raises the GetReligion reader-response question for the week (or at least for today, maybe, I may ask another): What is the worst cell-phone sin that you have witnessed in a religious sanctuary?
Come on people, you can do it. Pitch in and we can top the comment total for "When bad music happens to a Good God."