Choosing a seat in the front of church has its advantages.
In some churches those first few pews are often empty and forlorn.
But in my church the brave come boldly forward via the center aisle to pick a front or near the front pew to sit in. For me, sitting in the front provides a better worship experience; it is a matter of less visual distraction and better focus. Sitting in the front of church keeps me blind to such distractions as:
- the pew jumping, hymnal scribbling, cracker munching (and cute as a button) toddler, (don't get me wrong, I encourage youngins to come forward...if it helps me focus, it couldn't hurt them!)
- the shirt tag flipped up from the collar of a woman’s blouse in front of me. And me, spending what should be corporate prayer time, daring to reach out and tuck it back in with bonus kudos points if she doesn’t notice, or
- the many backs of heads I need to look past or through to view the action at the altar.
In the front, I am in the thick of things -- primo baptismal font viewing, first up to the communion rail, first to see the “please rise” hand motion from the worship leader.
And first to get the larger than life view of our preacher in his finest hour of the week, with his sweat beaded brow, or the spittle spewing from his mouth during a particularly brimstone part of the sermon.
Perhaps I should ask the church elders to provide plastic poncho protection that can be retrieved as needed from the Hymnal/Bible racks, like at a Blue Man Group or Gallagher performance.
Sitting in front can also have some disadvantages.In order not to appear overtly rude, one must master the over-the-shoulder-just-checking-for-the-time-on-the-back-wall-clock congregation scan. This survey is good for when I feel the need to: check the source of a screaming baby or a chatty family, or just see if a friend is in attendance.
I can also get slightly paranoid that I’m the one with the shirt tag out, or my skirt has too much static cling, or my watery eyes will be perceived by those behind me as emotions instead of allergies. (Really!)But the everlasting spiritual advantages of the front pews outweigh these trivial matters.
And so my family and I sit near the front.And if my tag is out, feel free to just tuck it back in.
Bonus kudos points if I don't notice.