This Christmas, Ysenda Maxtone Graham is praying for a short sermon
Which of these two lines, if you came across them on a church noticeboard, would entice you more? 6.30: Evensong or 6.30: Evensong with sermon. For me, there’s no contest. I’d be tempted by the first, and repelled by the second. I’ve sat through thousands of sermons, and the best moment, in my experience, is always the moment when they end. ‘Please can this be your final sentence?’ I plead inwardly, but it hardly ever is. There’s a moment’s silence, but it turns out just to be the end of a paragraph. Another sheet of A4 to go. When, at last, the preacher says, ‘Amen,’ I feel an ecstatic sense of relief. Our late Queen was far too tactful to say such a thing, but I have a feeling that, deep down, she felt the same. She did mention that she didn’t like a sermon to go on for any...
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