Since it was Easter and my husband and I have only just moved to the area (meaning we haven't found a church yet), we decided that the reasonable thing to do would be to go to the biggest cathedral in Cork, St. Fin Barre's, so then we wouldn't have to pay the 4 euros a person to go see it on a weekday! It was absolutely gorgeous inside! Huge stone pillars and a multitude of beautiful stained glass windows surrounded us. We were given a 14 page 'instruction manual' on how to participate in the service upon entrance. Surprisingly enough, the cathedral isn't Catholic but Anglican which I like to call "Catholic light" for Protestants.
The service started with the congregation singing the "Alleluia" chorus. Any Mr. Bean fans will understand this next part, but for those sad people who haven't had their own Bean experience, I have included this video clip for your viewing assistance and pleasure. Despite having the words in our 'manual', the pipe organ was so loud and there was no one leading the singing (the choir had yet to march in) so basically the who congregation was murmuring along the verses, not knowing how to follow until the organ blasted out the "Alleluia" part. Confidently knowing that one part, we all proudly blasted out our voices and it felt just like we were all doing our best Mr. Bean impressions (maybe it's an Irish Easter tradition we weren't notified of?).
Anyhoo, the service pressed on without a hitch and soon we were at the final hymn. There was only one 'instruction manual' between the two of us so I had been holding it the whole time and my husband was following along. In the final verse of the final hymn, which neither of us had ever heard before, we were singing along just fine until we got to the line, "No more we doubt thee, glorious Prince of Life". As I sang "Life", I heard my husband in his very low, loud manly voice sing, "Meahhhhh" which is hard to hear in your head while reading but it was basically like a cow being grabbed rather suddenly with ice cold hands. Apparently he hadn't been following along as well as I thought and this extreme opposite of the sound I was expecting caused the both of us to go into a fit of giggles! In my attempt at giggling quietly, my body started convulsing and tears started to stream down the side of my face that wasn't guarded by my husband (how convenient!).
With the song ending and still a post-communion prayer and blessing to go, I attempted to calm myself...a huge stone building with high ceilings is a megaphone for sudden giggle outbursts. Thankfully we gained our composure, shook hands with the bishop and all of his other cloaked assistants as we left, and then doubled over in laughter on the sidewalk right outside the gates.
At least it wasn't as bad as the time we visited a Baptist church in our home town where the organist seemed to place her fingers 3 keys over from her actual notes as she played a song during communion. Luckily we were in the balcony but we did get a lot of glares from the usher passing out the elements and other balcony goers due to the fact that our entire pew was rocking from our giggles. Or there was the time at another church where the congregation was instructed to hold hands and pray along with the pastor and my sister decided to scratch her butt with my hand that she was holding and I let out a sudden burst of laughter, which was quickly curbed by a nasty look and hand squeeze from my dad on the other side.
Thank goodness God has a sense of humor or else I would have been just a dark smudge from a lightning bolt a long time ago.