Six Thirty Seven
I remember when I first started attending a campus ministry almost forty years ago. The times of the Monday and Friday devotionals were somewhat puzzling to me. The schedule said that they started at 6:40 in the evening. I am somewhat of a rule follower so I made sure that I was there then, it’s who I am. So every Monday and Friday evening regardless of what I was doing, I was at the student center at the appointed time.
Though I am a rule follower, I am also an inquisitive individual so I had to ask why the odd time. Maybe the answer is that the dorm cafeteria closed at 6:30 so it gave people a chance to eat and get there. Or maybe it opened at 6pm, so students could get there, grab a bite, and be finished in time to get to the devotional. Or maybe there was some other scheduling reason. But as I stated I had to ask.
The answer was surprising, though misguided, and it was logical and understandable. You see I was told they used to start at 6:30, but most of the students didn’t show up by then so the time was pushed back ten minutes. As I stated, surprising, though logical. If they aren’t going to get there by the appointed time, let’s shift things. Makes sense. Only problem was, no one got there until 6:50 now, so that is when they started. As I said understandable, though misguided.
A few years later as I was working as a campus ministry intern and when a new campus minister arrived, the meeting time again came up. He like me, a couple of years earlier, wanted to know about the timing of the Monday and Friday devotionals. After some discussion, with the leaders in the campus ministry, it was decided we needed to change the time again. Well, I’m not a big fan of change, but since the word “intern” was in my title not his, my opinion was heard, but not followed through on. A change of the starting time of the Monday and Friday devotionals was going to be made.
Now this difference was interesting, though more disturbing to me, than the idea of changing. The discussion was about the need for the time to stick out. It had to be something that would remind them to be there at a certain time. I disagreed, but again I bring up the “intern” word, and a new time was chosen. The time? If you looked at the title of this, you have already figured it out. The new time was 6:37. Not 6:30 or 6:40, but an odd time for people to remember and hopefully be there on time.
Now don’t get me wrong, this is not about punctuality. Yes, punctuality is important to me, but not something I judge others on. What bothers me is why we do things, why we change things. Is our purpose to just be different, or it is to meet a need? I’m ok, with the first reason, and very passionate about the second reason. The changing the time of the devotional had nothing to do with a need, but only--shall I say--a creative idea. And the devotionals, they started when most of the students had arrived. . . at 6:47.