The British and the Germans are cousins. Yet, we do things very differently… Let me give you a prime example.
A Sunday evening in April. Anglican (therefore, English-language) evening service in a city in Nordrheinwestfalien, Germany. The trouble is, on turning up to the venue, none of the electronic cards will open up the storeroom where our bibles, service sheets and (English-language) hymn books are kept.
Had that been Germans, you could have anticpated expressions like:
Es ist eine absolute Unverschämtheit!
Das geht nicht!
Das kann nicht sein.
However we are the Brits, old bean…
The chaplain arrives.
Ginge in Germany:
Padre, we have a situation here. We cannot get access to the bibles, service sheets or Mission Praise books.
Well, no worries. I have a my book of prayer. I can take on off-the-peg service out of that. Do we have any German-language hymn books in the room? If so, let’s sing in German.
A quick scan. Yes, we do have German-language hymn books.
Problem solved. Chaplain welcomes the congregation of ten, a mix of Germans and Anglophone expats. He then explains that due to unforeseen circumstances, we will be singing in German. The reaction: very British. Shrug of shoulders and “fair enough.”
The singing was good, pretty good, I have to say. The first hymn was Lob den Herren. English-speakers may recognise the tune.
Have an adaptable day, wont you.