In my childhood days there was no daytime television, but if the wireless was switched on mid-afternoon a sweet, gentle lady would ask,
“Now children, are you sitting comfortably? Then I will begin.” Then she would read the story of the day, with many thousands of children Listening with Mother. – that was the programme’s name, would hang on to every word.
St Giles like the majority of Parish Churches of its size and age has oak pews which are comfortable enough for those of younger years, back-pain and arthritis free; but to be honest a bit of a challenge to those of more senior years. Strangely, complaints are few, our venerables, Reverend Ian’s name for the older ones must be a tough and hardy crew.
From time to time, we think how wonderful it would be to do away with the pews and replace them with nice, squashy, comfortable chairs; someone will even venture the opinion that if we did this more folk would be enticed out of their homely comfort-zones and into church.
Mmm! You might like to offer your thoughts on that one?
But, do we really need to be sitting comfortably before we can begin to worship, listen and witness.
The story of Paul and Silas in the stocks, in prison as recorded in Acts 16: 16-34 suggests otherwise. Stripped, beaten, don’t think stocks would be my idea of sitting comfortably, they sang hymns at midnight, and after The Lord’s timely intervention with an earthquake baptised their jailer and his family! No waiting for the right, (by todays standards) convenient comfortable moment!
To me sitting comfortably in Christ is more than the seating arrangements in our churches, light and heating; church is not just simply a physical building of bricks and mortar, it is to be “seated with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6)
From that position, like Paul and Silas, it is possible for me to sing at Midnight, come rain, wind and weather:
‘In Christ alone my hope is found.
He is my light, my strength and song:
This Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
Firm through the fiercest draught and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are still and striving cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
Here in the love of Christ I Stand.’
”Till He returns or calls me home.
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand'”
(Keith Getty & Stuart Townsend)