Friday, January 07, 2005

Holy Ghost Etiquette?

Most folks who read this know I work for an organization that deals with church life. My role is primarily telling stories about what other people are doing . . . how God is at work in their lives or the life of a congregation. I deal with after-the-fact stories for the most part and am usually just capturing the words of a firsthand account.

Sometimes, though, the spiritual realm crosses my threshold.

Yesterday that happened.

I was in my office chatting with a friend/pastor when I realized the usual office buzz in the background was growing in its buzz-iness and was less and less in the background. Moments later the cacophony had risen to such a pitch that it was a presence in the room that I felt had to be acknowledged. I paused our conversation and listened.

We couldn't hear the words, just the layers of voices, the swelling outcries, the near chanting sing-song nature of what I soon determined were prayers. As it grew louder, I found that I couldn't continue my conversation. I was giggling.

I almost wrote "laughing" but that wasn't it. I was giggling. Something akin to the yes-I'm-a-little-girl-and-I-just-caught-the-grown-ups-doing-something -only-grownups-do kind of giggle.

Soon enough the sounds died down, we did hear a booming voice declare, "Amen!" and it was echoed all around by the other folks in the closed door office and they began making gathering-up-your-things-to-leave-noises.

This coincided with my having to leave my space to make some copies and of course, my path intercepted a couple of theirs.

Which led me to a series of questions . . . what does one say to someone who has just invited and evidently received a visit from the Holy Spirit when you were not party to the party? Do you make eye contact and acknowledge that something very personal was also very public? Or do you simply make a mad dash for the copier and focus on the paper in your hands as though it were written in an unintelligible code that you must decipher?

What is Holy Ghost etiquette?

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