No Time Limit on Worship
Over a number of years in many parishes, I have always cringed when someone has said,
“the Service was too long”. Parishioners have been known to criticise the Minister at the end
of a Holy Communion Service, which also included a baptism, which made the service
longer. And at Christmas, complaints have been made that “we have to get home to cook
our Christmas dinner”. Surely the major focus on Christmas day is to worship “Christ the
new born King”. The preparation and consumption of Christmas dinner, present giving
around the tree, glasses of champagne, fruit mince pies, etc. must take second place to the
reason we celebrate Christmas day. It almost seems as if we just want to get the service
over and proceed to better things, like the consumerism which has tried to nudge our
worship of Christ out of the way.
Jesus Christ conducted his ministry in a timely manner, not cutting down on the time it took
to deliver his message or in healing those around him who were in need of care. It shouldn’t
worry us if the service is a little longer than usual. Celebration of Christ’s birth should be
enjoyed in its entirety, so that the service means a joyful time of worship together with
relatives and friends.
But not only Christmas. If there is something in the service, such as baptism or a naming
ceremony, recognition of a particular achievement of one or more of the congregation,
induction of a new minister, confirmation or commissioning of Elders, these events will add a
little more time to the length of the service and we should celebrate and enjoy these times.
Getting out into our world and “doing our own thing”, should take second-place to the reason
we are in church, worshipping our God, who has done everything for us and for creation.
- Robyn Swadling-Rope
St Margaret's News