Summary: It is easy to be tired of church if church does not connect with integrity, compassion, or fundamental life change. But you will not grow weary if you will work for the good of all.
Several years ago I officiated at a wedding at National Cathedral. At the rehearsal an official of the Cathedral explained why the service would be held in just the Great Choir of the Cathedral, and not out on the main floor, and why we would have to be exactly on-time, no exceptions. He said that they had to fit in, very carefully, everything that happened at the Cathedral, because, by the time you add up daily services, weddings, funerals, baptisms, christenings, services by special groups, and all the rest, they averaged seven thousand services a year in that one building. Wow! Seven thousand services a year!
Just thinking about it made me feel tired. Just imagining the task of coordinating all of that praying and preaching and singing and shouting, that made me more than tired. It made me feel weary. What a lot of church!
And then I thought back to the day a few years ago when Margaret and I stood in Winchester Cathedral in England, and, looking around at all that magnificence, we heard the our guide say, "Ladies and gentlemen, the worship of God has been conducted in this building every day, without a single interruption, for one thousand years." Wow again. 365 days a year, a thousand years, that’s at least 365,000 worship services, and you know there were many days when more than one event was held. Wow for the third time! That’s a lot of church. You might even wonder if that’s somehow too much church. It makes me weary to the bone to think of having to plan, conduct, organize, or attend even a small fraction of that. Too much church.
Do you ever get tired of too much church? If you’ve found yourself coming over here night after night, two and three and four nights in one week, did you notice that you were getting tired of too much church? If, on rare occasions, now really, rare occasions, the service goes past that sacred hour of noon, did you feel you were about to get tired of too much church? (Or was it that you wanted to get to the cafeteria ahead of the Methodists?). I hear stories from people all the time about the churches they used to go to, when you wouldn’t finish until two or three o’clock in the afternoon, and then you were expected back for an evening service, not to mention Baptist Training Union, and you have told me, many of you, that in those days you certainly became tired of too much church.
In fact, one person told me this week that when she was growing up, she would wait and get to worship about 12:30 on Sunday afternoon, and that when her pastor asked her why she did that, she said it was because he didn’t get around to saying anything worth listening to until about that time! Wow! Too much church!
Now if you and I can get tired of too much church, have you ever thought about God also being tired? Has it ever occurred to you that the Lord in heaven, having had to listen to all this praying and preaching, singing and shouting, from thousands of churches for uncounted years, may also be tired of too much church? Well, the prophet Isaiah says that God is indeed weary about some of it: