Follow by Email

Monday, October 15, 2012

Church of the Buckshot


   Every person on the planet has this in-born tendency to repeat the same behaviors over and over again, be they good, bad or boring.  Sometimes we call such behavior a routine, which can be a good thing.  There’s virtue in establishing routines like structuring our mornings so that we get to work on time every day, or going to the gym the same two days each week. Sometimes, however, we stick with our behaviors just because we don’t want to be bothered with making a change.

   We humans are indeed creatures of habit. Nowhere is this characteristic trait more obvious than where people sit in a church sanctuary from Sunday to Sunday.  About two years ago, my church added a second service, and I was asked to lead worship for it. Since it meets earlier than the main service, our numbers are smaller. You would think that our First Service people would adjust to our reduced size and sit as an identifiable group, but no.  They all sit in exactly the same seats on exactly the same pews where they used to sit when we all met together in one service. The problem, for me at least, is that hardly anyone sits near the front, or even near each other. I mean, they look like a spray of buckshot out there!

    As a worship leader, this distresses me. It’s hard to connect with 40-50 people in a room designed to hold 300 when they’re spread out as much as they are. I’ve tried my darndest to get at least some of the Church of the Buckshot to sit a couple of pews closer to the front. I swore publicly that it was safe for everybody, as no one on the worship team had cooties. Our bass player even piped up that he’d had all his shots. They all laughed at the joke, but nobody budged an inch. The following Sunday, they all sat to the rear of middle, as usual. I kept trying though. One Sunday I sang a special song to them, a parody of Carol King’s “So Far Away:”

    So far away, doesn’t anybody want to sit close anymore?
    I don’t understand why you sit back by the door
    It just doesn’t help to know that you sit far away
    Yayeeayeeeee, so far away...

They thought the song was pretty funny, but they still didn’t move in any closer. Sitting in a different location would require change on their part, don’t you know. My Lord, whoever heard of Christians making any changes in their lives as mammoth as sitting in a different seat on Sunday? What a preposterous idea!

    I suppose I should just give up trying to make them behave like a congregation instead of strangers in an airport terminal. People are going to do what people are going to do, etc., etc., etc..  - but I can’t. This buckshot seating pattern just BUGS me!  I especially hate to see single people sitting off by themselves - it just doesn’t look like God’s family has gathered.  So next week I may try another appeal for a migration out from the fringes and closer to the front. Maybe this parody of “La Bamba” will work:

    Please sit a little bit closer
    Please sit a little bit closer
    Be friendlier saints
    Sit a little bit closer

    Sit a little bit closer, show me your face
    Please sit up near the front,
    Sit closer together, not all over the place
    Just for a change, just for a change   

    Pleeease sit closer, Pleeease sit closer
    Pleeease sit closer, Pleeease sit closer

That should do the trick, don’t your think? Yeah, right.

That’s all she wrote,