Mornin’ Juice (worn out pews)

This morning (July 8, 2018) I had a chance to worship with some friends of ours. It is a smaller setting, one that if you have ever been in and out of worship barns (churches) is one you are familiar with. As you enter the main door you are greeted with two side doors that when opened you see the platform in the front rising a foot or two above the floor, adorned with the pulpit, and to the side crammed into a corner is a place for the keys, drums and guitars to lead the faithful into a place of animated glory! The smells remind me of days of vacation bible school and the visual of the choir loft that housed 20 cherubs was just enough for this day.  The pews were positioned like the seats in a 747 with a center aisle and seats to the left and right.

People filling in with the greetings, hugs, hellos and occasional “who are these people” looks coming at me and my bride, and then to see those same individuals greet us with a huge smile, hug or handshake. We got settled and followed the thumping of the drums, the rhythmic guitar to the voice of the young lady leading the songs that had the cadence and rhythm of ol’ spirituals. One of the choruses rang out with the words

I don’t know what you come here to do

but I’ve come to clap

I don’t know what you come here to do

but I’ve come to raise my hands

I don’t know what you come here to do

but I’ve come to dance

each repeated back to each other over and over and over and then with a momentary lowering of the music to hear the pastor “what have you come here to do?” a spirited, sweat slinging encouragement for more to join. The joyful noise had to be spilling out into the streets!

As we were standing, swaying, clapping, dancing, I couldn’t help but notice the pews. In particular the top rail of each pew,. Pews over the years that have held many hands.


  • hands on the end of an arm that has just stretched it around his bride to nestle her in.
  • the same hand that would come to rest after thumping a youngin’ on the noggin to pay attention.
  • Hands from mama’s and grand mama’s slappin the back of the pew with joy as they belt out the latest hymn of the day
  • hands of an elderly man reaching out in front of him to pull himself up, steady himself only to raise those hands from the pew in adoration of God for giving him another birthday.  we joined together and celebrated his 74th birthday
  • hands from a young single mama handing a dollar bill to each of her children to drop in the benevolent bucket. The same bucket she was able to draw from a few months earlier.
  • hands clutching the pew when one on bended knee praying for who only knows except the one on the floor and the ONE who is listening.

Man if the pews could talk, and maybe they were. It appeared to me, the closer to the front of the room the pew rails were a bit more weathered, a tad bit more seasoned, worn from the constant grip. I don’t know for sure but could it be that the years the folks started to beLIeVE what the folks on the platform were saying and singing. That when life grips us, we are never out of HIS grip. Regardless of circumstance our identity is set in who Christ is and has done. That today I will no longer live as a victim, but beLIeVE in Victory, yes i’m sure that would have people slappin the pew for joy, reaching for it to stand up and praise!

So what about the back of the room?  Maybe the reason the pews in the back are little less “weathered” is because they, like me years ago, just stepped into the water and the only time to reach for the pew was to steady myself from the effects of the night before being filled with spirits not THE Spirit! Maybe some slip in and slip out before they allow themselves to actually reach for the pew to pull themselves up to stand and place their hand in the hand of a man up front telling me I’m not a product of my flaws and failures.

do you beLIeVE?

for me today yes! what about you? If you are unsure we would love to help walk you to a place where the back of the pew is a wonderful place to grab.

Today it was like holding the hand of God! (thanks Pastor Gresham as Providence Missionary Baptist Church)

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