I can almost hear the voices of both of my grandmothers, and how they would have responded to the comments spoken in front of a wooden church pew. I must say, I couldn't believe my reaction at first, but the truth that rolled off my unrestrained lips reminded me of my own heritage.
Most of our churches are built for comfort now. You can choice which service you would attend since many of our churches have multiple services starting on Saturday night through Sunday. If you have an event you want to attend or a game you want to watch, you just change the service you attend that weekend. The length of the services is down to an art, to keep the attention of all in attendance. Your A/C and heater, are managed to make you comfortable, as well as, child care up through elementary school. The days of "hard wooden pews' have been replaced by more relaxing cushioned chairs.
I am not saying I am in disagreement with all the changes, but sometimes it makes me wonder, would we still attend, if all the comforts were removed?
Our women were having a ladies breakfast and worship time at our church. I am part of a small group of women who serve by decorating for different events. I am one that follows the leaders with a working hand....move items,..put up and take down. This event the designer wanted a place for women to gather, enjoy breakfast and maybe take a picture or two. Her vision was expressed and I came along side her with items I had collected from my home. This would include a wooden pew, chandelier, vintage songbooks and Bibles. The songbooks were my grandmother's she used for "singings".
The younger adults were enjoying seeing the pew, then the comments came. "Oh, I remember those and I am soooooooooooooo glad we no longer use them!" "Those were so uncomfortable." "The first time I got in trouble at church had to do with......................."
Without checking my words through my brain I stopped in my tracks. "Well, then you have something to be thankful for! You were raised in the church! If you set on wooden pews, then thank God for your Christian heritage!"
Needless to say, they just looked at me like I had dropped down from Mars. They hadn't thought of that, they were just expressing how much they liked church the way it conducts services now compared to their childhood memories. The point they missed was, they have a spiritual past. Someone dressed them, drove them, and attended the single service on Sunday, weekly, so they could hear the Gospel. Back in the day, there wasn't children's church, which meant they heard the Word from the Pastor.
I slowly walked away, glanced at the books sitting on display and thanked God for my Christian heritage. There was my husband and mine Bible's from our youth. The songbooks that my Grandmother had written her name across and used to sing from, the pew, though not from a church I knew, still represented where I would set.
I am still passing the Christian Heritage baton to my own children and now my grandsons. It will not be a wooden pew, or songbooks, but I pray that I will leave something behind. I pray that instead of them only seeing discomfort or entertainment, they embrace the truth of going to church - The Gospel. My grandmother might just say, "give me that old time religion." My grandmothers both were faithful to God and family until their death. Maybe those old wooden pews were better than we thought.