PEWS OR CHAIRS?
It seems like the move for the past quarter century or more has been to get rid of pews. I don’t believe there have ever been any pews in the current building the South Lyon Church of Christ meets in. I know that when we were remodeling the auditorium in Davenport, we replaced the pews with chairs. As a matter of fact, we couldn’t even give the pews away. They ended up being tossed into a dumpster, though many of them were still in decent shape. Pews were out.
And before there were pews? My family has had the privilege to visit some of the older congregations in New England. What is interesting in these churches is that before there were pews, there were pew boxes. These were sectioned off areas, oftentimes with wood to separate them, for a family to sit in. Usually, there was a cost for your “family pew box”, and they were often in the most preferred place in the building. If you didn’t have a family box, you would sit on a bench in the back or in the balcony. And though we don’t have these sectioned-off boxes anymore, we do still seem to have our family seating areas.
Well, what about before pew boxes? Logs, grassy areas, benches carved from rock, dirt floors of homes? We could go back and figure some of this out. Maybe read some old books, or an article or two. Regardless as to what they sat on, the first building built for the congregation to meet in didn’t appear until near the end of the third century; a long time from when the church first started to meet. It was way before we had the discussion as to pews or chairs.
Now, I’m not advocating we get rid of chairs and stand the whole time. Standing or sitting doesn’t really matter to me. What I am advocating is that we move past chairs. Have I stumbled across the next great sitting invention? No, but I do believe we need to get past the chairs, or more importantly that which they represent: a place we worship as opposed to a life of worship.
A place of worship is someplace you come to, do the act, and then leave. A life of worship is one that is continuous regardless of where we are. Yes, we will have our time of corporate or community coming together to encourage each other and remember the life that was given on that cross; but, it won’t end when we leave the chair or pew, it follows us wherever we go.
This week as you are sitting, in a car, at a table, on a bench or even in that comfortable chair you have at home--think about worship. Ask yourself if you have worshiped God with your life that day. Or will you worship God with your life that day? What will you do for God by offering your body as a spiritual act of worship? It takes getting out of our chairs and sharing our lives with others. It takes getting out of our chairs and serving others with our lives. It takes. . .not sitting around.
Standing up for God,