Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sitting Next To The Walking Wounded

I learned yesterday that a woman who attends our church took her own life this past weekend. Mary was a wife, a mom, and a grandmother! She was struggling with deep depression and in the end – the loneliness and sadness won and she ended her pain in the only way she could. I guess…

This blog is called, “Get Off The Pew” because I wanted to challenge you and me to do just that – get off the pew, out of our comfort zone, and into the body where we can affect change and really touch people. Each Sunday I watch people come into the church and sit in the same pew, with the same group, week after week after week after week. A couple Sundays back I saw a woman count the pews as she came down the aisle – she had to make sure she got her seat! One Sunday morning several years ago, a woman came down to the second row of the mega church we attended and saw a stranger sitting in the pew where she and her husband usually sat. She tapped the shoulder of the lady sitting in that spot and said, “Excuse me, but this is our seat.” The visitor smiled and said, “Oh I’m sorry, I’ll move.” I wonder what went through the mind of the regular attendee when the stranger was introduced to the congregation as the wife of a new staff pastor!

I want to issue a challenge. This Sunday, shake things up a bit at your church. Sit in a different pew! That’s right – mix it up! Hey, if ya wanna get really crazy, attend the 9:30 service instead of the 8:00! Strike up a conversation with the people who regularly occupy a seat on the other side of the sanctuary. You might find a new friend. You might find someone who is terribly lonely and sad, and who is just dying for someone to sit next to her and give her a reason to hope. The walking wounded are all around us! Who knows, you might end up sitting next to someone like Mary – and maybe, just maybe, your touch will be enough to keep her from killing herself. Get off the pew. Get off YOUR pew!

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