Re: Lengthy Church Services
- We are on a discussion as to how to resolve the issue of lengthy service for which many friends argued for and against. I was only citing few examples in my posting (ICON #4892) as factors that prolong the church service. Anybody can recite 'kuriyelison' ten thousand times if it fetch more blessings than saying it once or thrice. Nobody eat continuously. What would be the result if breakfast, lunch and dinner is taken at the same time like our namaskaram - morning, 3rd hour and 6th hour all at a stretch. The result' kaumas' several times during the one hour plus namaskaram.
Let us see what Lord Jesus say about repetition in prayer. ''But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions as the heathen do, for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking...''(St. Mathew 6:7-8). Jesus also criticize regarding ''pretence long prayer''(St. Mathew 23:14). How many times the publican said'' God be merciful to me a sinner''(kuriyelison') according to St. John 18:13. Once or 27 times like us ''natha utharamaruli krupa cheyaname, natha utharamaruli, natha utharamaruli...�
Why our churches are empty during namaskaram and full by the time Holy Qurbana starts. That is an indication that most of the people do not favour a lengthy service. Two hours is an ideal duration for a Sunday service. 30 minutes namaskaram, 1 hour Holy Qurbana, and 30 minutes for other activities. In Marthoma and Catholic Churches 90 percent of the faithful will be inside the church before the worship service starts because they do not have to stand for more than an hour like us before the Holy Qurbana starts.
Our liturgy and prayers were written once upon a time and were designed to suit that period when nobody bothered about the length of service. Now the time has changed. But still many of the people from the older generation favour lengthy service. And some of them go outside the church indulging in smoking and gossip and return before the service comes to an end. But the youth and the new generation never go out like their elders. If they go out they will go to some English churches and then never return.
When I see many oppose shortening the service, a story comes to my mind. Decades ago some of our managing committee members were discussing with a thirumeni about diluting the nonbu and reducing the fasting days. One of them said I will never agree for diluting the nonbu at all. When he left, others told thirumeni that this man never observe any nonbu and what he is going to lose? Yes, the lengthy service can be an issue for those who remain in the church throughout the service.
Thomas Kuttikandathil, Houston.
- Some of our church members always complains that our service is lengthy. A normal Sunday service with sermon may be arround 2 1/2 hrs only. Most of the members skip the one hour prabhatha namaskaram and some may reach for last half our only. I like to point about a family who always complain about this long service. The aunty was not willing to sit for the marthamariyam samajam after the church. The uncle always cries about giving the nominal monthly collection for the church and skips the other charity collections. Now this family is a member of Heavenly Feast. Aunty goes for whole day Friday prayers even early to participate in the kanji and payar preparation. Uncle knows to pay the monthly deshamsham. Those who complain against the leangthy service, please rethink. Once you participate in holy Qurbana whole heartedly, you will not feel that it is lengthy. God save our church.
Regards, B V Chirathalattu, Vakathanam