Archive for ◊ November, 2013 ◊

• Friday, November 15th, 2013

Last Sunday our church service ran especially long. Instead of the usual hour, it ran over an hour and a half. This can happen every so often at any church. It was communion Sunday, there were an inordinate number of prayer concerns, one extra hymn, the passing of the peace was lengthy, and a few extra announcements. Time just got away.

It is interesting to watch your fellow parishioners as the clock ticks on. Some people begin to surreptitiously glance down at their watches. Some even poke the person next to them to look at the time. There’s a shifting as people take on a slightly more anxious pose. Our service starts at 10:00 and by a little after 11:00, a few of the parents of teenage athletes are starting to gather their coats to quietly get their offspring to soccer practice. The minister begins glancing at the clock at the back of the room.

God Forbid A Church Service Run Too Long?

I should hope not!

Out of 168 hours in a week (10,080 minutes), is it really so horrible to run over a bit at a church service? An extra 30 minutes: Is that too much time to give up?! What is the rush?

Everything is clocked in our world – 40 hour work week; 30 minute TV sitcoms; 3 minute eggs. It’s all about time – and the lack of it. Be here/be there/be on time. We rush, rush, rush to get to the next event, the next commitment. A lot of our present time is spent anticipating how we will spend upcoming time.

Now I will admit that last Sunday, I looked at my watch, saw the time, and recalculated my arrival time for my next commitment. Then I stopped and realized I really liked the hymns we were singing last week. The prayer concern for someone’s friend mattered to me. The minister’s sermon topic really resonated last week. I am moved by communion and the passing of the peace is always pleasant. And the announcements? Yes, I heard some needed information.

So next time your church service runs longer than you like – before you look at your watch, stop and listen. Then think about why you are sitting in that pew in the first place; what are you expecting from the service that day?

Perhaps – maybe that hour and a half on Sunday is more important to your sense of well being, than rushing out at 11:00 AM and running errands.