In today's sermon we learned that God intends worship to be—among other things—fun. I'm not quarrelling with that, only mentioning it to make the point that I do not, in general, consider pain to be fun.
At the service we usually attend this is rarely a problem, but today we went to the later service because it was Porter's turn to close up afterwards. Alas, I had forgotten to bring the earplugs that are of necessity my nearly constant companions these days. I survived until the offertory, during which I observed an interesting psychological phenomenon. At first I felt claustrophobic, as I was trapped in the middle of the pew, bombarded with increasingly painful sound. Then I started to shut down, closing off as much as possible all awareness of the world around me. It almost worked—until I decided that that wasn't a very sane thing to do, and was certainly no way to worship. At that point, I stopped caring what other people thought, and simply put my hands over my ears until the song was done. Then I was safe until Communion, after which I was conveniently able to slip outside until the drums and guitars ceased.I will certainly be glad when Porter's locking-up duties are over, and we can go back to the "old folks' service." It used to be the elderly who were hardest of hearing, but these days I find that the volume of a church service tends to be inversely proportional to the average age of the congregation.