When I was little, my parents attended church every time there was an opportunity, so I was quite comfortable and uninhibited there. Familiarity grew into boredom, which bred misbehavior almost always manifested in giggling, especially when I sat with my best friend, Melodee. What an instigator! Want an example of what could set off two girls into barely-controllable snort laughter? Shamefully, certain hymns were hysterical to us. For example, Melodee and I thought, “There never was a sweeter mel-o-dy; ‘tis a mel-o-dy of love . . .” was hilarious because we sang her name with exaggerated enunciation and volume (Think George Beverly Shea). Once something triggered us, there was no turning back. Very naughty, but great memories.
So why do kids get church giggles?
Notes written on bulletins. Recently, I confiscated a series of playful insults. I do have to give them credit for creatively pulling from the scripture reading: “Your teeth are like a flock of shorn sheep.”
Ringing cell phone. Adults squirm, but what kid doesn’t enjoy watching a frantic, embarrassed adult fumbling to push the right button?
“Usher Tango.” When the plate travels down the wrong row, or two plates meet mid-row, compelling the ushers to dart back and forth to make it all come out even. Very entertaining.
“Sanctuary Re-Entry Disorientation.” The moment when someone returning from a “break” suddenly realizes he has passed his seat and can’t seem to find it again. For kids, this is like church Candid Camera.
“The Dozer.” Provides expanded moments of entertainment. Every head bob or low rumble causes shoulders to shake with laughter.
Rowdy babies, squealing microphones, and excessively demonstrative singers round out the list.
As long as all of these events don’t happen within the same service, the giggles will work themselves out. Some churches actually welcome laughter as a form of worship, and getting carried away could be deemed biblical: “Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away,” Isaiah 35:10.
At least church giggles are a step above a worse fate: funeral giggles.