Jasper, MS—First Baptist Church of Jasper will no longer be under pressure to begin morning worship at 10 am as they have been attempting to do for the past 62 years. In a bold announcement on Friday, Pastor Harlan Richardson formally announced the change of the official start time of Sunday morning worship to “about the 4th hour.”
Pastor Richardson explains, “After years of attempting to start the worship service at 10 am, I am ending this manmade pressure.”
For those of you not familiar with early New Testament clockworks, “about the 4th hour” would refer to approximately the time between 10 am and 11 am, the fourth hour of the day. Note that the Jewish day began at 6am.
Pastor Richardson places a lot of emphasis on the word “about” in Scripture. Plenty of Biblical precedent exists for beginning church activities at “about” a certain hour. “I have a real peace that we are in keeping with scriptures in the New Testament to start about the 4th hour. Such declarations regarding non-rigid time schedules are made 6 times in Matthew, twice in Luke, 3 times in John, and 4 times in Acts.” Pastor Richardson explained.
“We might as well change the time,” said Betsy Bibbs . “We’ve never started at 10 anyways. I get here every Sunday by 9:55, and I usually have to wait 15 to 20 minutes before we hear the first announcement.”
“It’s those musician people,” said Krissy Withmore, 13. “Like, you know, they always are late or whatever.”
“This is bad,” said Dan Bradford shaking his head. “At least we used to try to be on time. Now, who knows what time we’ll really begin? Sometime between 10 and 11 to start? I have to have a better schedule than this. How am I supposed to make plans around “about the 4th hour”? This is ridiculous.”
In defense, Pastor Richardson reiterates that there is nothing sacred or even scriptural about meeting at a set time. “We know Lord Jesus ascended to Heaven after His resurrection as recorded in Matthew at a time between 10 am and noon on a Sunday morning because it is very clear that the disciples worshipped Him. But nowhere in the Scripture does it say the exact time of this worship.”
In any case, those of you wishing to attend FBC Jasper this Sunday morning should be prepared to begin about the 4th hour. What should you do to pass the time? Pastor Richardson suggests, “The church does have wireless internet. So, perhaps attendees could bring their laptops to use during the wait.”