This happened in my first church when my colleague and I led what we felt was an innovative service that used the Old Testament Temple as the structure.
I opened the service and led with one of the Songs of Ascent from the Psalms that were sung as the crowds of people approached Jerusalem and the Temple. We sang a song that was based on one of those songs too.
The Temple was set out in a series of concentric zones, with an ever-diminishing number of people allowed to access each of the zones as you header inwards. The first area of the Temple was open to all and was known as the ‘Court of Gentiles’. This was the area in which the traders had set up whom Jesus furiously cleared out of the temple. We commented that one of the reasons for his anger was that this was the place that was supposed to be for anyone to approach God and it had turned into a market place. I led in intercessory prayer for the international scene.
My colleague took over at this point. The next area inside the Temple was the ‘Court of Women’ and was open only to Jewish men and women. It was as far as women were allowed to go. This is the area in which the large receptacles were placed to receive the offerings and was where Jesus and his disciples were observing the widow who placed her ‘mite’ into the offering, which was all that she had to live on. This was to be the cue for the offering.
My colleague solemnly announced, “As we enter the Court of Women we are confronted by two huge chests.”
A well-respected Baptist preacher was visiting a church in Africa. He was invited to preach on many occasions, and in order to be courteous his custom was to ask how one might greet people in the local dialect. In one church he asked his interpreter how to say, “Good evening,” and his interpreter told him what to say.
As our hero walked into the main church building he observed some notices onto doors which were obviously the toilets. He noted down what it said on the doors because he thought he would give even more polite greeting.
As he stood up to speak he said what he thought was, “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.”
There was a stunned silence, followed by giggles and then laughter. The preacher turned to his interpreter and asked what he had said. With a broad grin the interpreter said, “Good evening water closets and urinals!”
At the Easter service the Minister was retelling the narrative of Peter in the courtyard as Jesus was on trial. He said, “Peter was warming his hands at the brassiere.”
Unaware of what he had said, the Minister continued. “The servant girl said to Peter, ‘Don’t I know you?'”
Thanks to Julie for this one:
Sitting in church at the ‘big’ Carol service – church was packed and the minister began his talk. Went well until he confidently pronounced that, of course, Bethlehem was busy and the beds taken because it was Christmas! We fell about laughing but he had no idea what he had said till afterwards when he asked what has been so funny.
A speaker at a conference was talking about how often the things churches do in mission happen locally rather than being planned centrally or nationally. She said, “Mission bubbles up from the bottom.”
Cue juvenile sniggering!