Yesterday morning, yes Sunday - at around 9am, I had managed to fight my way into the bathroom for a little ablution. My filthy form required some keen cleansing, during which I heard a noise. A wasp? No. A space craft? No. It was person drilling. At 9am on a Sunday!
Then something occurred to me in clearest terms - something that might explain why churches are semi-empty in perpetuity.I am not sure that it has anything to do with the secularisation of society - it is far more simple than that - and it is the same reason why Mr. Man or Mrs woman was drilling at daft o'clock on a Sunday morning ...
We have run out of time! No, our end is not nigh (I don't think) - we have become so busy, so pressed, that we have no time for nuffin anymore. I can't think that anyone in a right mind would choose to enter into hole-making pursuits on a Sunday morning early, but rather prefer to do it at other times and on other days of the week.
In our convenience I-choose world, we have the remote control that saves me nearly a minute every day. The modest microwave saves me three hours a week. The iTouch and Internet save me many hours of research time a week, and the computer itself save me copious 'handwriting hours'. So what do I do with all that gained time? Fill it up again. The world is in a mad hurry. People rush the traffic lights to gain a moment of time ... on their way to work?! People interrupt face-to-face conversations with mobile phone calls because the content of those calls is sooo urgent.The world is a-blur with speed.
So, we have the odd little things that accumulate throughout the week. We can only get them done in the time which is least committed - and that time is often Sunday. Gardens need primping and preening, holes need drilling, paperwork needs doing, cars polishing. After that list is exhausted, and after coffee is consumed by the gallon, then people might have the thought about church. The though might find time to turn into action a decade later.
...which is why I our churches seem to be full of 'older' people and not people my age! Them being there is wonderful news, but illustrates my point well. I have seen that as people approach retirement they acquire time for 'stuff'. Older people have the ability (and courage) to make time for themselves and what they consider important, including the nourishment of their spiritual life. Career and family years are now saturated, and I speak as one who wholly sympathises with people who have no time for God. I was one such person for a number of years. If they are even fractionally like me, then they labour under some guilt about not attending to their own needs - and that makes me sad. Time for praying? Time for reflection? Time to sit in silence and in awe at the wonder of the world around us? Lovely, mate, but I have the nursery run to do before dinner needs cooking, the babies bathing, the ironing pressed and the dishwasher (a time saving device) needs unloading and reloading. And I'm paid to be religious ....
Tomorrow and for the rest of the week, I will (in the deliberate corporate places that allow for such activities) pray for those who have no time for God - I am not sure there is a clear solution to their exile.
It may be that ten gazillion people have written about this already, which is lovely, but I haven't read their work and this was fresh to my own head .... ok!