How can a minister justify cutting his sermon short? The Rev doesn’t really understand the importance of time. On many occasions, he doesn’t even start work till late into the evening and finish in the early hours. He sometimes turns up late for church on Sunday, which Curate Zeal loves because he gets to ‘lead the service’ and so is afforded the opportunity to have a go at the congregation. He doesn’t get why it’s so important to follow a routine, especially where the routine becomes LAW.
This doesn’t go down well in his congregation of course. He is rebuked vehemently if he over runs. Criticism he has received includes the need to get the last hymn in otherwise it doesn’t feel like the service has properly finished, the chicken is in the oven and now it’s probably burnt, the tea and coffee will start to get cold or the kids in Sunday school are climbing the walls and the teachers are fed up.
The reality in modern British evangelical circles is that the service has a fixed length, with certain items timed in a structured manner (songs especially, so that no one gets too bored) which fits in to the British way of life, which is structured in an arbitrary yet ‘this is the way we have always done it….so’ way and it won’t betide anyone who challenges ‘how it’s SUPPOSED to be’.
Does the Bible not exceed the importance of a ridiculous perception of order? Does the work that the minister has (hopefully) done all week in preparing the sermon not afford him a few extra minutes if he’s really into it? And who are the congregation that they cannot give 5 or 10 more minutes in having Jesus explained to them (just as long as the minister is doing that, otherwise the congregation are free to leave when they like)? Or indeed, what is wrong with dropping the last hymn if the minister overruns? Is the narcissistic spiritualism of some modern day hymn writer of more value than hearing about the Christ?
As long as the modern British church concedes to have a small part of their week dedicated to God, maybe God will reciprocate and give a small part of His time to them.