Welcome to my eclectic journey of my life and delights. This year my theme is surrendering my writing pen to the true author, Jesus Christ, while looking forward to the future, reflecting on the past and dancing through my journey.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Heritage Left Behind

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  The days of "hard wooden pews' have been replaced by more relaxing cushioned chairs.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.

8 Joining in with more words:

Farm Girl said...

Well Amen to that. I do long though sometimes for the Old Time religion.
I want to sing hymns from hymns from books.
Yes, things are more comfortable, but I still think it would be more honoring if we stood while we were listening to God's word. See I am really out of date.
I think we need more reverence in our services. Okay, listen to me rattle on and on.
It was just something I was thinking about the other day. I am so glad you wrote about it.

Rebecca said...

We sang songs from a book just tonight! 30 minutes of "Singspiration" following 30 minutes of prayer for our community, church and nation. And it was good!

Susan Nowell @ My Place to Yours said...

Like you, I was blessed to be raised in church. I sang about "old time religion" and saw it lived in front of me. As a child and then teenager, I attended church business meeting where I learned to read a budget and listened in wonder as "both sides" of issues were discussed. When my daughters were young, I took them to "big church" beginning at age 3. I'm glad there was no children's church because they learned to sit quietly. They were allowed to draw on the bulletin using the pencil in the pew rack or "read" the little Bible story books we reserved solely for church time, but we didn't take crayons or games, and we didn't chew gum or eat candy. They stood when hymns were sung. They bowed their heads in prayer. They listened to the preacher more than one might expect. Neither I nor my now adult children would be who we are had our "comfort" or "ease" been the goal. Today it's rare for most adults (much less youth or children) to participate in the decision-making of a church. It's common for children to have children's church where (according to proponents) they can learn on their own level.

...Would we still attend if all the comforts were removed? ... Would we go if we had to corral children the entire service? Would we go if we had to sit through church business meeting? Would we go if the preacher preached more than 20 minutes and we couldn't beat the lunch crowd at the restaurant?

... Would we go if there was no AC or heat? Would we go if the piano wasn't in tune—or the organist played too loudly? Would we go if the young family with the crying baby wouldn't use the nursery?

When I think of all the things I've learned specifically because I grew up in churches where children were part of the service and activities of the church, I'm always amazed. I'm happy to say that today I worship in a church founded in the mid-1800s where some families are in their sixth generation of membership. Although restored, we worship in the same pews as did church founders. We sing every verse of the hymns. I love seeing parents helping their young children learn how to follow along in the hymnal. I love hearing little voices say the Lord's Prayer along with the adults. I love seeing children lead adults in worship. ...It's easy to separate children and adults for worship—to make it comfortable for everyone. It takes intentional effort (and sometimes inconvenience) to provide a multi-generational service, but, in my experience, it's effort well spent!.

Janettessage.blogspot.com said...

Dearest Susan,
We both started our spiritual journeys in the same city. Our journey is very similar. When we moved to the large MetroPlex, and changed to a non-denominational church, my own children's journey has been different. today we mix both worlds with Benjamin, he goes to his class then attends "big church' with us later. The sacrifice means we go to two services on Sunday instead of just one. This has been a conversation many are having around me today, yet I don't know that it will go back to the other "traditional" way, but I am sure the conversation is good. God is the one who turns our hearts, I just pray that I can continue to make the environment for my kids and grands for Him to turn their hearts. Your comments are wonderful...thanks for commenting on this subject.

Lisa said...

I feel the same way Janette! People feel so entitled and pastors feel so much pressure to offer all the bells and whistles. While these things are welcome courtesies to most I feel they shouldn't be obligatory. I went to church and revivals with my kids sitting in the pew with me. Child care always offered and certainly not at every service. Ok I'll climb off of my soapbox. You're right janette A Christian heritage is a cherished thing. Where would we be with praying grandmothers? And godly parents?

Christine said...

I liked that you spoke your words to the young adults. They SHOULD hear about how our grandparents sacrificed and paved the way for us and now the next generation. So much is forgotten, that is so valuable. History and heritage should be "spoken". I'm applauding your spirit.
Let us never forget what was endured for us, the big and small!!

What a great spot for pictures. The pew is perfect, classic! I'm sure you followed directions but added your special talents to the mix.

Christine said...

PS- great new header!

Vee said...

Oh I don't think so, unless you are reaching far beyond the wooden pew to the heritage beyond. =D Now there was one church where they had comfortable wooden pews. A talented carpenter in that fellowship! You always make me think. I don't always agree, but I always have food for thought.

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