Associate Editor’s Note: The following was written for the newsletter of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Long Prairie, MN (Independent) which is served by LCMS Pastor and BJS Contributor Pr. Nathan Higgins. The article is a good reminder of spending time at church.
As we turn the page on another calendar year, I find myself thinking about a hymn in the “New Year” section of our hymnal. It is #123 – “Our God, Our Help in Ages Past”. The sixth stanza of that hymn reads:
Time, like an ever-rolling stream, Bears all its sons away; They fly forgotten as a dream Dies at the opening day.
Thinking about time, I started doing some calculations of time here at Emmanuel.
Sunday Services last (approximately) an hour and fifteen minutes. For good measure, if you bump this up to ninety minutes, and multiply that out by 52 weeks, you could spend up to 78 hours here at Sunday Services over the course of a year.
If you add to this the various forty-five minute Services – New Year’s Eve and Day, the four midweek Advent Services (sometimes there are only three), Ash Wednesday, the five midweek Lenten Services, and Ascension; plus an hour each for Maundy Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day; and then two hours for Good Friday, you would be talking about an additional 16 hours in Services for the year. This brings our total Service time offerings up to 94 hours.
You could further take the Sunday morning Bible class time and multiply those 52 weeks at 45 minutes each out to an annual total of 39 hours. To this, you could add the annual total of 52 hours for the Tuesday evening Adult Bible class. This would bring the grand total of Bible classes (open to everyone in the congregation) and Services up to 185 hours. Rounding this off (to cover any errors in my math), you would get nearly 200 hours of your life each year that could be spent at every Service and Bible class that is offered here at Emmanuel!
When you think about it, 200 hours is an impressive amount of time to spend in church! Yet, these 200 hours calculate out to only 2.3% of the total hours of life that God gives you – over the course the same year (24 x 365 = 8,760).
As you consider the blessing of time that God gives you in the coming year, please make a special effort to join us for the 2.3% in which we hear and study God’s Word and receive the gifts of God’s Word and His Holy Sacraments here at Emmanuel.
Our God, our Help in ages past, Our Hope for years to come, Our Shelter from the stormy blast, And our eternal Home!