This morning while in bed, I listened to the great Wynton Marsalis discuss the history of jazz musicians and a new movie he is working on promoting, ”The life of Buddy Bolden, the original inventor of Jazz.” A picture of a church pew came to mind.
I am a visual person, so I hurried to google and find a picture of an old church pew. I also found a picture of a modern pew, plus a picture that shows the evolution of people that nowadays renovate churches into homes to live in. This is a something some would never think of doing.
As I stared at the old church pew, I marveled at how church has evolved. As the world changes, the church has had to change with the challenge of not changing Her message.
If these Wall could talk? How about “If these pews could talk?” Here sat everyone from an African slave to the President of the United States. The “bum and bottoms”of Popes,rock stars, King pins, and even drug dealers have rested on these pews.
The pew has served over decades as the “place of pause,” for great inventors and criminals. The pew has been the “fork in the road” for many who sat down with intentions to kill but stood up poised with peace. Is there power in the pew? Great question.
The pew continues to be the seat of confession, the place of forgiveness, the monument of conversion, and the perch of thanksgiving. Thank God for the pew.
It’s the place to park, pause, ponder, and even philosophy. I always wondered why pews were so hard? I have my
observations. Were pews hard to keep you uncomfortable, awake and focused? Was it to apply pain to the buttocks to force up great ideas and thought to the brain? They spanked us with hard wooden paddles to change a behavior. Who knows?
Our Mother would continue to tell us to sit our behinds down somewhere. Pain applied to our butt always seem to run foolishness out of our hearts and mind. Do we have to wonder why today children can’t sit down, have poor attention skills, Stand, shake, and show their butts on every picture and video on social media? Standing up butts don’t net what sitting butts can. It’s sad but no pew.
I looked at the picture of the old pew and wonder how much preaching has changed. From slavery to civil rights, from Equal rights to voters rights, from police brutality to suicide, the pew has sat them all and the preaching has been forced to change with the issues without changing the message.
As the world has become wealthier, we want our pew to reflect more comfort, so we pad it. Cushioned beds of ease help us escape the world we live in instead of sitting firm and hearing messages that spawn us to get up and go change it.
As the pews become softer and our service times become shorter, I’m not so sure where we are headed.
I want to honor those who have held up the great vocation of Preaching throughout all of the eras. It is the result of what has been tracked into the church that has caused it to stumble and shake.
Every Sunday morning, the preacher unlocks the doors of the church and stands at the ready, braced to see what new ideas, technology, and ideology will be tracked in on the shoes and in the hearts of the people he pastors. It is an honorable challenge that most are up for. It’s a fight to not change the church to look and act like the world. Fight on Preacher!!
The pew has changed. We want and demand them to be reupholstered, padded, or replaced altogether with cushioned chairs with soft high backs for ergonomically correct body support. Evidently, the problem has been in the thickness of the pad not the depth of the proclamation. Wow, we have been wrong all this time? Are we Preachers or Chiropractors? Let’s not argue.
Now we want to live in churches. I want to evict God from the place, fix it up a bit, add curtains, spice it up, and move in tenants. The sanctuary is now the living room, the choir loft is well, never mind…
Here are my observations:
So goes the pew, so goes the people.
There is a direct correlation between the thickness of the pew pad and the depth of a person’s praise.
More pad = Less GOD
Less pad = More GOD
NO PAD = ALL GOD
A toast to the Old wooden Pew!!
(These are my thoughts on real time😄)
I’ve been to quite a few churches that met in very unique settings. Most of them were new churches where they had not yet found a permanent site. One was in a home where we sat on the couch and dining room chairs. One was in a park amongst nature sitting on blankets. One church even congregated in a high school gym where we sat in the bleachers. The most different and unique place was a movie theater where we sat in chairs that leaned back. The commonality is that God was there. God is where His people are, whether it’s a traditional church with wooden pews or on the couch in someone’s home. God is where His word is taught and preached and sang about.
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Thanks for sharing