The pews in the church all follow in rows like stiff soldiers. Stretching from one end of the church to the other end, all bright and shiny. Lovingly polished by the ladies who give their time to the church and God. The smell of Mr Sheen lingers in the air as does the smell of floor wax from the polished floor of the churches all over Ireland. A job done lovingly and with devotion to eradicate every bit of dust and dirt from God’s house. Each Sunday the Ladies who clean can be seen eyeing the children arriving at church half daring them to dirty the clean pews. Winter shoes carrying in bits of mud no matter how much wiping on the mat at the door is done. Each visitor to the church brings more work for the devoted ladies; some will tut tut but others will off it up to God. On the floor between the pews lies dry mud, tissue paper, and lost soothers belong to crying babies. Dolls shoes lay lost and abandoned after rolling away from sight. All to be discovered by the church cleaning ladies
Families sit together in pews if the Father chooses not to go to the men’s aisle or to stand at the back of the church. Older generations sat in different pews. Women and children in one side of the church and men in the men’s side but now families sit and pray together.
Funerals are the times that we see generations sitting together in church, Rows of generations and families lining the pews. The Grandparents in the front pew followed by their children and grandchildren. An even older generation in the coffin at the front of the church.
As each generation ages and dies the next generation moves up a pew in the church nearer to the front. The new generation carries on the tradition and values of the family. As children in the third or fourth pew from the front of the church it felt as if it would take for ever to get to the front pew. But don’t be in a rush to get there because when your sitting in the front pew it means all your previous ancestors have gone to heaven. Sitting in the front pew means your now head of the family possibly sharing this pew with your siblings: wondering who will be the first to exit the pew to the coffin at the foot of the alter.
- YES! As a child sitting in the front pew is a treat to be treasured but as an adult sitting in that front pew makes the stark reality of death come close. So treasure the years moving up to that front pew. Live those years constructively making a difference on earth. Live selflessly and lovingly