Looking out from the pulpit, I saw a clock that was situated to be seen only by my predecessor, successor, or...me.
Though I've been wrong on many things and could remain wrong on this one, I guessed/guess it meant/means I was/am not to worship Him for too long.
While you can decide if it was/remains an inspiration or indigestion, I blurted, "What's up with the clock?"
Then I recalled His enfleshment, passion, resurrection, reign, and the apocalypse of heavenly worship.
Gratitude was/remains the focus.
Whenever I worship, I remember that...moment.
I have not worn a watch in worship since seeing that clock that was situated to be seen only by...
"How shall I receive You into my house,
I that scarce know how to spend one
half hour in true devotion?
Would that I could even once spend
something like one half hour
Groote aka Kempis, Imitation of Christ, 1374
I had a similar clock situation in the first church I pastored. Worship began at 10:30 and the congregants were still missing the noon kick-off when the Chiefs were at home. Normally we finished the service around ll:30 but one day the Spirit was moving in a profound way and no one noticed that the service did not end until 12:05. When God is moving among His people, time loses its importance, and so does football.
How, if you'll excuse the expression please, timely.
We had a guest preacher yesterday. I thought he had a great message: the joy of the Lord is your strength! And certainly had no sense of worshiping "overtime." What will folks who get fussy after 59 minutes do when they have an eternity to worship? Guess they could always spend their eternity in the alternative location.
BUT, our guest was so into worship that he lost all track of time (isn't that the point of worship?). I had no idea what time it was when we got out, but on the way to a Sunday School class overheard someone say, "Look at the time! We should have known, he always is long-winded when he's speaking." So much for the joy of the Lord...
Reminded me of the time when, after a 59 minute plus service, a woman asked me if I owned a watch! My less than irenic response was to ask her to show me in the Bible where God had appointed a time for worship to end. I find several places where the time for worship to commence was appointed by the Lord, but don't know of any passage where God says, "OK, Israel, that's enough worshiping, let's get back to business."
I notice that the complaint is often 'the preacher kept on preaching too long ...', never about the two overreaching and overlong anthems the choir tried to sing.
Some historical perspective comes from a story I have heard of colonial New England. It was the tradition of the congregation to have an hour glass on the table in front of the pulpit. When the minister began his sermon, a deacon would turn the hourglass. There was one minister whose custom was, when the glass ran out, to climb down from the pulpit and turn the glass over, and say, "And now I'll take a second glass."
my own approach is a little different
I refuse to let the clock be my tyrant
but, I view the hour as a sonnet or haiku
there is virtue in the structure
same as my columns always 750 words
makes me be precise and concise and creative
I find it to be a worthwhile discipline
Our last four gatherings have gone 2.5 hours. But each week we are running out of space! When God is in it I think people lose track of time! When your on a date with your wife you don't look at the clock to see when this will end!
Well, brother, this opens a can of worms that my lack of courage prevents me from...
Me likey, brother!
Time ceases to exist when we are in His Presence. Those who don't enter into His Presence have no clue!
When we've been there 10,000 years
bright shining as the sun
We've no less says to sing God's praise
than when we've first begun
In my old church, we sang for 45 minutes BEFORE the sermon.
Then we sang for another 15 or so ... and sometimes stayed longer
Two hour Sunday service by choice.
THAT was the kind of Presby church which should be everywhere.
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