Are you bored in Church?

Are you bored in Church?

 

Dare I say it? Church can be boring!

How often do you find yourself thinking of the wrong thing during the Liturgy?

Do you have problems focusing when you pray alone?

Lets talk about boredom.

  1. What is boredom?

Most people think that something is boring. Church is boring. A book or a movie is boring. A person is boring, a conversation was boring.

But here is a question for you.

How then can one person be bored and another person at the same time in the same place can be very involved, not bored?

I could be having coffee with someone and having a great conversation, but a third person could be there and be very bored.

One person could be very into a sermon, another person could be sleeping. How come?

OK, lets talk about the liturgy. If you find it boring, which one needs to change? You or the Liturgy?

Well, the Liturgy does not change. So who has the problem? If the Liturgy is not going to change, how can we change?

We are not going to try to stimulate your imagination or make things more exciting.

How can we enter into worship in a mature, spiritual manner without constant distraction or feeling bored?

 

Now I have a confession, I have lost my train of thought in Liturgy too.

I am distracted. It can be a bit of a grind sometimes.

Boredom is not because the event is boring or the person.

Boredom is not being where we are.

Boredom is wanting to be somewhere else.

Lets understand this, boredom is a feeling.

Imagine this, you have a thousand dollars in your hand. But this is a bad dream and as you look at it the money is dissolving before your eyes, and as it disappears you realize you can’t do anything to stop it.

That is a picture of boredom, you have something, time, not money, and it is dissolving before your eyes and you can’t stop it.

Boredom is what you are feeling when the money (or time) is going away. Boredom is not being trapped, it is the feeling that you are trapped. It is a feeling.

Boredom is not wasted time, it is the feeling that your time is wasted.

Boredom is what you feel when you decide you are wasting your time.

Boredom is what you feel when you start thinking about somewhere else, a different time.

When you are bored you are not living in the present moment.

Here is an example

When I was in a class in college, I felt bored when I decided that I wasn’t going to learn anything, that I had heard it before, or I didn’t feel challenged.

 

Sometimes boredom just means waiting for something else to happen. And it seems like a long wait, that can be boring.

 

In church are you just waiting for something else to happen? Waiting for coffee hour? Waiting to leave?

That is boredom.

Sometimes boredom is tolerable because of the end. At the end of this boring workday, at least I will get paid. Another form of waiting. A reward.

Three kinds of waiting.

Stoplight waiting.

You sit there and wait for the light to change

Christmas waiting

I can’t wait for Christmas to come, its going to be awesome.

Restaurant waiting

The best waiters can memorize the order for the whole table, how? Nepsis=watchfulness. Attentiveness.

A waiter can’t do that if he is thinking about what he is going to do when he gets off shift. He can ‘t think about his girlfriend. He has to focus, pay strict attention. It takes practice. Lots of failure.

This is how we should wait in church, with attentiveness. With watchfulness. With anticipation.

If you are cold, you get warm. If you are hungry, you eat. What can you do about boredom?

 

  1. Remember why you are in church

What do you get out of coming to church? Why are you here? Forgiveness, fellowship, communion, eternal life with God, new life, renewal, a new start. When you find yourself bored, remind yourself.

When your thoughts wander, bring yourself back to attention.

  1. Re Focus on prayer

Repentance means to change your mind, when your mind wanders, repentance means snapping it back to attention, to refocus on the reason you are here, Prayer, the Divine Liturgy, communion with God. Don’t get frustrated with yourself that you are distracted, repent and start putting you mind where it belongs.

  1. Remember the unseen

You can’t see the whole truth. Your eyes don’t work that well. We need a spiritual cataract surgery to open our eyes. All around you are unseen forces, the devil is doing all he can to keep you from thinking about God, to keep you from faith. To keep you skeptical. Don’t let him win. Realize you are in spiritual combat.

  1. Use the icons.

Sometimes it helps to look at the icons. Gaze at them, think about them, pray to understand them, pray to know them.

  1. Use the service book, look at what you are singing, look at the prayers and pray them silently with me. Memorize them. Let them sink into your heart. Let them transform you. Remember that they are transforming you and be encouraged. 
  1. Remind yourself that you are experiencing an amazing thing. Don’t let it get old. 
  1. Remember that we are an entertainment soaked culture. But Church is different. We are not here to entertain you.

In conclusion let me say this.

Church is not going to change. The Divine Liturgy is not going to change.

Church is not the problem, the Divine Liturgy is not the problem.

So practice re-directing your mind, practice attentiveness, mindfulness.

You will still have times when your mind wanders, just bring it back.

 

Practice your attentiveness, be a good waiter.

 

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