Of Pews & People

Written by Jeremy Pate on . Posted in Youth Minister

Pews webThis past Sunday, you may have noticed that several of our pews in the auditorium had been slashed, sliced, cut, or otherwise vandalized; there were nearly a dozen pews affected, and so far, no one knows anything about how it happened. No one has come forward to confess, and no one has any suspicions or theories about who might be responsible.

When it comes to who may have damaged the pews, it is currently a mystery; and it may remain a mystery, indefinitely. We may never know.

In terms of what needed to be done, however, there was no mystery to it: those pews needed to be repaired. Within a couple of days of discovering the damage, several of our concerned members had researched the issue, bought the appropriate supplies, and had begun to repair the damaged pews. Until the repairs are completed, there will be signs on the damaged pews, so that no one sits there unintentionally and makes it worse. If I’m not mistaken, these pews will be repaired (at least temporarily) within the next week or so. 

I heard a lot of different questions asked about those pews this past Sunday:

-       “Who would do this?”

-       Why would someone do something like this?”

-       “Did they use a box cutter?”

-       “Do we have cameras recording in here?”

-       “Did someone sneak into the building?”

At the end of the day – and perhaps longer – there may be no answers to these questions; however, there was one overriding question that became more important than all of the others:

“How and when are we going to repair these pews?”

Because that’s really all that matters, isn’t it? Whether we find out who did it, why they did it, or what they did it with, we have some pews that need to be repaired, don’t we? So that’s what we are focusing our energies on at the moment: repairing the torn and damaged pews.

But what about the torn and damaged people who sit on them?

Every Sunday, hundreds of people come into our auditorium to worship our Lord together; and some of those people are torn, damaged, and broken. They are hurt. They are lonely. They have been mistreated, overlooked, and they are in a state of disrepair. They may be sitting beside you, behind you, or several rows away. Does it matter why they feel this way? Does it matter who is responsible? Do the details of their pain really matter, or would it be a wiser use of our time and energies if we simply did something to help fix the problem?

In the story of the “Good Samaritan” in Luke 10:30-37, the priest and the Levite may have asked themselves some of the same questions as they passed by that beaten and injured man on the road:

-       “Who did this?”

-       “Why would someone do such a thing?”

-       “Was this about money, or was it personal?”

-       “I wonder what he did to deserve this?”

Of all the questions that they might have asked themselves as they passed by this man, there was only one that they should’ve asked, and answered:

“Who is going to help this man?”

Maybe we have been guilty in the past of asking the wrong questions when it comes to the pain and brokenness of our Christian brothers and sisters. After all, those questions are much easier to ask, because we may never know the answers and those answers may never lead to any actual response on our part. Maybe we should begin to focus on one simple question; a question that will inspire compassion and action towards the person who is in need of repair:

“I wonder what I could do to help?”

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