It is not supposed to be boring...
The festive season of the Liturgical Year: Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Ascension, Pentecost, Trinity Sunday will have passed by the beginning of June this year leaving no “official” Christian feast to celebrate until the next Advent. - Nevertheless, we have other special Sundays in our Church Calendar to reflect on; and they are widely remembered at Christian churches. Some of them are Father’s Day in June, Racial Justice Sunday and Harvest in September, One World Week and Reformation Day in October, Remembrance Day and Christ the King Sunday in November. All these special days underline that fact that the so-called “ordinary time” of the Liturgical Year is anything but boring. Many people associate the word “ordinary” with something just plain boring. However, ordinary comes from the word “ordinal” in liturgical context and in this sense means "the counted weeks” -, thus neither part of the Church Year, the “festive season” and the “ordinary time”, should be associated with a boring period. Nor should our worship in any ordinary church time. Because in the Reformed tradition the service focuses on the sermon (rightly or wrongly, both opinions could be argued for), it is most prone to criticism among the other elements of the service. I like the following story.
After a very, very. very long and very, very, very boring sermon the congregation filed out of the church saying nothing to the minister. Towards the end of the queue was a thoughtful person who always commented on the sermons. "Reverend, today your sermon reminded me of the peace and love of God!" The minister was thrilled. - "No-one has ever said anything like that about my preaching before. Tell me why." - "Well, it reminded me of the Peace of God because it passed all understanding and the Love of God because it endured forever.
Yes, long and boring sermons can have an adverse effect on the life of the congregation. However, a good sermon can also remind us, and it should, of the peace and love of God. Actually, they are the very things that make our spiritual lives inspired and inspirational (to others) and exciting. Living at peace and sharing God’s unconditional love with the brothers and sisters is anything but boring (often times it is rather challenging). On the other hand, soulless routine of what we “always have done” topped by long and uninspiring sermons cannot be anything else but boring.
If we really love the Lord we shall find our church-going a thrilling and an exciting experience! Nearing Fathers Day we could say that remaining in the Father’s love is the most exciting, thrilling and beneficial thing in our spiritual life that teaches us spiritual discipline (we love no other gods), builds up our community (Jesus’ love holds us together) and enables us to bear the fruit of the Spirit reaching out to the community we are surrounded by.
Yours in Christ,