Monday, April 7, 2014
The power and purpose of your posterior in the pew
I do not know who invented the typical church pew. Gauged by the numbness and tingling in my legs somewhere around song number four or minute number twenty, it was likely a man who sat up straight, brought a pillow, and loved seeing everyone uncomfortable but him. Twas not the services revolving around damnation, hellfire, Gehenna and then grace that brought the adherents to their feet - it was the lack of blood flow to the lower extremities. The pew has been around as a standard method of seating since the Protestant Reformation around 1517. This saw the introduction of the traditional long-sermon service, and Western chiropractors. It would not be until the mid 1930's that Otto Bayer and his colleagues would develop the technology that would mass produce foam seating for the masses, or oddly, around the same time regular church attendance saw a historic increase of 'biblical' proportions. Google it - you just can't make this stuff up folks.
When I was a child, my parents would "drag" me to church. 'Training up a boy in the way' meant sitting there regardless of a desire to attend because in reality, the bible instructs instruction at an early age. However, In my newness in Christ, I look at my position in the pew as one of honor that, when fully explained, will make perfect sense to you as it now does to me. The reason that you are in attendance with your brothers and sisters, and the reasons we are part of God's Church has much to do with the intent of God's plan. It is not by chance or coincidence that you are amongst believers my friends. It is the will of God for you to be his own, and when we can attach God's will, with our purpose, the pew becomes very becoming to the reasons we are assembled in His name.
Let us first look at John 6:44 - "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day." The word draw (Greek - helko or helkuo) used here has eight other appearances in the Bible. Let us look at two of these to shed light on how this words' deeper meaning can effect the way you look at being closer to God in your walk with him:
John 21:11 "Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were many, the net was not broken."
John 21:6 "And He said to them, 'Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.' So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish."
Now let us think of it this way in light of these scriptures: We are in the net, metaphorically. God is drawing you as fish that have already been caught. Sounds crazy - God does not work that way you may believe. Let us dig a bit deeper into this word - it is simply an awesome thought. The root of the Greek word draw (helko) is (haireo). This term means this: To take for oneself, to be chosen. God has taken the time in his grand purpose to choose YOU. God has chosen to draw you to himself like a fish in the net.
So considering that we are drawn to God, and that we are chosen by him to be drawn, let us finalize this with the reason we are called into his own. This is found in 1 Peter 2:9 "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." Friends, we are drawn by God because we belong to him, he has chosen us out of the darkness (the world) into his light (Jesus Christ) so that we may declare His praises. We do this amongst ourselves in worship. We do this in our daily walk, and we declare this in our ministry to others. It is why we are here - this is why we exist on this Earth. We have been chosen for a glorious and infinite purpose. That is so humbling to dwell upon. God has drawn you to do His will because you belong to him. Think of this the next time you become uncomfortable in the pew and your legs tingle and your back aches and the sermon just started: So has your eternal life in His glory and purpose. His will is His glory through His Church. His Church is his bride - think of it as being at a wedding where everyone lives happily ever after. Literally :)