For the past 25 years or so I’ve been a back row pew guy at church. I’ve been fortunate attending (I’ll admit that attending might be stretch as to the implied consistency of my attendance) Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Excelsior MN these past 25 years. Even through a couple of sanctuary remodels they still have the best type of back pew, one with a wall directly behind it. Some churches only have back pews that are open behind and people can walk behind you, aka a pew with no place to rest your head when the sermon reaches a certain level of inspiration. The only time I’ve spent much time with the other people “up front” was when the kids were about 3-4 years old. They wanted to sit up near where mom was sitting with the choir. After about a year of that I coached the kids on the importance of the back pew, the importance of tradition, and we’ve been there ever since.
Now that explains (with possibly more detail than needed) the “Back Pew” in today’s post title. “A Message” could also be called a perspective. I once read something by Frederick Buechner where he talked about a sermon he heard once, not to be confused with the sermon that was delivered. He said something to the effect that often the most influential sermons we hear are not the same as the sermons delivered. When a sermon touches you and inspires you to associate it with some part of your life experiences it becomes your own and often quite different from what the preacher had in mind.
So what you have here today is possibly the first of what may be a series of “Messages from the Back Pew” or more specifically my personal perspective on what may have been said in the pulpit on any given day.
So today, Pastor Scott preached. I am here to go on record that I was not inspired to rest my head on the wall. In fact I found myself sitting forward in my seat a couple of times to better engage the message. Scott, a very good friend of mine as well as my pastor, just returned from a trip to Africa. He went as a part of the Kids Against Hunger Program Mt. Calvary is involved in. There was a lot of content in the sermon, too much to share now, but there was a simple message, maybe more of a question in the sermon.
The public safety professions are based on a philosophy of service. Take this thought with you this week and think about what it means to you:
When we go out in the spirit of public safety service, “who is serving and who is served?”