Sunday, October 25, 2009

Late Again!

There's my empty pew. This morning, I ran so late that I was tempted to stay home. I overslept, and I did not make the Sunday school class. It seems that the only time I arrive before the service begins is when I go to the earlier class. As a parishioner, I'm, no doubt, the bane of my rector AND my fellow parishioners, who'd prefer a more punctual attendee.

In gauging how long certain tasks will take, tasks such as taking a shower and getting dressed, I seem to have a deficit. And the clock! In some instances, time flies, and in others time drags. How does one tell whether time will fly or drag?

However, because I was hungry for the Bread of Heaven and thirsty for the Cup of Salvation, (No irony here!) I went anyway, tardy as I was, and arrived as the priest was reading the Gospel. Shame on me! I stood quietly in the back until the rector finished reading, and then slinked into my place as the congregation sang the "Celtic Alleluia".

Today, I did not break my record for tardiness and disturbing the congregation. That record still stands at Tobias' church, St. James in the Bronx, when I embarrassed myself beyond belief. On that occasion, I partly blame the New York subway system for closing down subway stations on weekends and the Bronx for being so far from where I was staying in Midtwon Manhattan.

I hope that Tobias and his congregation have tucked that occasion into the place called "Memories I Can't Recall". Bless their hearts!


  1. My father drummed into me and I have internalised. "you must never be late, you must never be on time, you must always be early" My sister is even worse. We arrange to meet, I arrive 10 minutes early and find her waiting. Perhaps it is just as well we live a million miles apart and only meet on the net :-)

  2. Brian, I don't defend my tardiness, but I can't seem to get out of the cycle of being late. I've tried tricks like setting the clocks forward, but Grandpère gets annoyed, because he wants to know the correct time.

    I wish you could export your father's lesson, and I could internalize it and use it in my life.

  3. Dear Grandmere,

    Time is just a number; cold, hard, & factual. Don't confuse it with things that are really important, like being present to one another.

    Showing up late once in awhile is a privilege you have no doubt earned. If you're there to be with God, well you were "with God" all the way to church, weren't you? And aren't the others there assembled likewise present to be with God? So, nothing to apologize for.

    Can you really suppose that when you rise in glory you'll spend even fifteen second wishing you'd gotten to church (and most other places)at the moment prescribed by others and measured with a mechanical device?

    My problem is a tendency to fret through some lovely moments over whether I'm "on time" or not...which gives me ulcers and I hate it. Don't give in to it! God will understand.
    NC Mama

  4. I agree with Cheryl. You are who you are. So you're a bit late. You got to hear the gospel and the sermon and were well in time for Communion. Like Brian I learned to be early, but I have no problems (usually) with those who aren't since I have no control over them .

  5. Grandmere --If you got there in time for the Gospel, you were right on time in my book.... I tell the ushers never to count attendance until after the Gospel reading... ! You'd fit right in here.

    I like that you go --even if you are late. Would rather have you late than not at all!

  6. Cheryl and Amelia, thank you. I fear you are too kind. My rector is patient and kind with me, too, and he never chides me. The wife of a previous rector was as bad as I was, and she always made me feel somewhat less guilty.

    I see the hunger for the Eucharist as altogether a good thing, although I like to hear ALL of the Scripture readings and sing the Psalm, too. I read them later, but it's not the same.

    Cheryl, in the long run my being late for church probably won't count for much.

    Thank you both for your kind words.

  7. Margaret, do I hear you right? "Ego te absolvo...."

  8. Margaret gives great absolution, Mimi.

    I was early to church but had forgotten the lesson inserts at home. We have neither lectionary nor lectern at Our Saviour yet, so once folks had arrived I dashed the 3.8 miles to home and back and the service started about 7 minutes late. In this informal setting of six people, all was forgiven.

    Of, as a colleague in California says, "Nobody was hurt and everybody was fed."

  9. I´m early and I like to sit in front (unless the original Spanish Colonial Church looks like it might come crashing down with a little earthshake)...I like to get close to the visual and spiritual dynamics taking place at the alter...something about the front (like I need to get as much as there is to offer and pay attention).

  10. Yes, Grandmere, as to absolution... --didn't you hear Jesus. Your faith has made you well.

    Paul LOL--I heard that line a little differently... every body's fed, no body's dead!

  11. Grandmere, don't feel bad! I understand your situation entirely. Today you made it before I did. I arrived at church when the sermon was already in progress.

  12. Is it the season? Is it the day? You and I both dealt with that "over sleep" gene today. You of course made it...I did not and missed a good sermon according to a friend who I went to our Deanery meeting with this afternoon.

    I seldom miss, but hate it when I do.

  13. Perhaps you shouldn't even think about going next Sunday? It's really embarrassing to be arriving as everyone else is leaving because you forgot to set your clocks back.

    I visited a multicultural church in New Jersey awhile back. Some of the people seemed to have no sense of time. A number arrived during the eucharist and that was after a long confirmation bit. I suspect they would have even missed coffee on a regular Sunday.

  14. Next week she should be early if she forgets to change the clocks.

    As for tardiness, last spring when the clocks changed the guest preacher failed to show up on time. We could see the presiding minister trying to put a sermon together while the congregation was singing hymns. Fortunately the preacher showed up just as the presiding minister was rising to give the sermon.

    Today we had the alumni reunion and memorial service which is multifaith (Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Christian readings by alumni though most of the framework such as the hymns/anthems was Christian). A few tardy people.

  15. Paul, seven today? Lovely.

    Len, I like to sit toward the front, but not right in front. We have our seats - sort of - but no one gets upset if someone else takes their seat.

    Margaret, thanks. I heard Jesus.

    Whiteycat, that's when I arrived at Tobias' church!

    Ciss, there's always next Sunday.... I don't like to miss either.

    Piskie, is that next Sunday? I try to do the clocks the night before. We fall backwards.

    Erp, I've heard a similar story before from the vantage point of the presiding priest who was trying to put together a sermon in a hurry. I wonder if it was the same occasion.

  16. You can never be late to be with Jesus.

  17. I discovered once I got married that I would be late for everything. If I tell Mrs. H that we need to be somewhere at 11:00, we arrive at 11:10, and that was before kids. Now I am lucky to get into my pew before the Apostles' Creed.

    We wound up missing todays service entirely because Sprout has the crud and is very congested. With the weather being as weird as it's been in NW Arkansas, I didn't want to take her outside today.

  18. All over the UK church goers were showing up an hour early yesterday as our clocks went back an hour at 2a.m on Sunday morning so they were turning up at 9 thinking it was 10.

  19. Dan, thanks. I needed that.

    Hillbilly, I remember the days of trying to get the kids ready and myself presentable on Sunday mornings. It's not easy.

    Prayers for Sprout. We've been having crazy weather, too, cool one day, warm the next.

    Petty, so you had your change already. I wish that the powers would leave the clocks alone one way or another, without making the change.

  20. I am not a morning person, and I tend to putter through the morning (cup of tea, email, news, the radio, etc.). I will get up early sometimes in order to putter and so I don't have to be rushed.

    I agree with the others, you can never really be late for church.

  21. Be enigmatic and look pained. It works every time.

    "She's such a martyr."

  22. Counterlight, I was out of character when I went to St. Luke's. You can vouch for me when I say that I was early.

    Doorman-Priest, there you are! I thought you had gone into hiding. How many times would following your advice work for me? Remember that I have a habit. I was early when I attended the service at your church, too. Praise be! It happens on occasion.

  23. It does my heart good to hear that someone, other than I, is late for church (and other things as well). I always say my patron saint is Our Lady of Perpetual Lateness. No matter how I plan, everything seems to go wrong. Even if I am early, there will be a traffic jam or some such that will throw me late.

  24. I was late to Sunday School, Mimi--and I *am* the "Rector's Wife"!

    Good thing Dear Friend is always there at LEAST an hour early. I figure we balance each other out. ;-)



  25. I've heard a similar story before from the vantage point of the presiding priest who was trying to put together a sermon in a hurry. I wonder if it was the same occasion

    I don't think so. The presiding minister in this case was Unitarian (guest preacher, Presbyterian, university chapels are great for a nice mix). I suspect it is not uncommon.


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