Let’s admit that occasionally the liberals could be right. For example, their view that Jesus was culturally conditioned by his first-century environment. Take the advice ‘All you need say is ‘Yes’ if you mean yes, ‘No’ if you mean no’ [Matt. 5.37].

Nowadays, Jesus’ monosyllabic ‘yes’ would be replaced by ‘absolutely’. T see where you’re coming from’ is less judgemental than his recommended ‘no’ – linguistic sophistication impossible for a first-century mind.

At this moment in time (‘now’ is oldspeak), the communications revolution isn’t just the technology that enables us to communicate in nano-seconds, but also the verbosity which occupies the time saved.

Fortunately the CofE is at the cutting edge of this words explosion. As one proof, look at your watch during the next intercessions you hear. Compare the time taken with that to read the impossibly old-fashioned Prayer of the Church Militant. It was also his first-century background that led Jesus to condemn those who thought they would gain God’s ear by overmuch speaking. He could never have dreamed of General Synods.

For his part, God, like all old men, is obviously getting forgetful, judging by the many-worded modern rite Prefaces reminding him in detail of his achievements. Those who square-bashed will recall that drill instructors relied on repetition to aid learning. In like manner, the BCP’s approach of the same readings and collects cropping up every year was said to drill folk into memorization. Such a meagre diet and low word-count won’t do for our Super-Size Me society. The solution? Cycles of Readings.

More readings, plus the proliferation of Bible versions, has improved biblical literacy to match Britain’s rising educational standards. We have grown beyond being merely a ‘People of the Book.’ In the twenty-first century, we are ‘People of the Books.’

Talking of books, have you reserved your copy of the new edition of Common Worship! This comes with a free CD of the Liturgical Commission singing ‘Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered.’ Forget ‘obtainable from all good booksellers’, and give a chance to a bad one. Call us today. Your call will be held in a queue. Be assured your call is important to us.

Alan Edwards