Interesting Church Pews
Embroidered cushions provide comfort on the pews in Christ Church Cathedral in Nassau, Bahamas, as seen during our 2018 Christmas Disney Cruise.
I have been to several churches over the years. Two of those that I have attended regularly have had cushions on the seats, although one was just wooden for both the seat and the back of the pews. I was a child at that time, so the wooden seat did not bother me, but I can see how it might be slightly uncomfortable. I have visited at a few churches that have had padded backs on the pews, and those did feel rather nice. I could immediately tell from sitting down that there was a difference. Yes, I saw the padded seatback first, but I definitely felt it when I sat down.
However, the padded pew backs I am used to seeing are just plain cushions, nothing fancy. I was impressed by these embroidered seatback cushions at Christ Church Cathedral in Nassau. The cushions are not all that thick, but they do look interesting. They were not on all of the pews, but just on a few at the front of the room. I am guessing they are for some important people, but not knowing that church’s customs, I do not know for certain.
Thanks to Google Translate, I can tell you what they say:
Lord, have mercy
Christ, have mercy
O GOD, we praise Thee: we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord
There is more, but that is what I can make out. Some Greek, some Latin, but all showing praise to God.
Of course, the comfort of the worshiper is not the main point of any worship. Some would say that they can worship better in comfort, while others might say some slight discomfort will remind them more of our need for God’s salvation. I suppose it is mainly up to each person.
But whatever the reason, these pews were quite interesting!
Going Back to Church
We went back to church last Sunday.
Of course, we were not just skipping out for the past three months. Like most everyone, we had not been able to go to a church building to worship.
The last time we were there in person was the first Sunday in March. We stayed home and watched our church’s live stream the next Sunday out of precaution, and then in-person worship services were cancelled after that. Fortunately, our church was able to quickly switch to online worship services on YouTube, so that none of us had to miss a Sunday worship. It was a little different worshiping in our home with just the three of us, singing along to prerecorded songs, but we were still able to enjoy sermons and Bible classes. It was all good, given the circumstances. Our guys did a great job.
But this past Sunday, our church opened up for worship in person again. As you might expect, there were some changes. Almost everyone wore a mask, as was recommended by our local health department. There were no Bible classes, as those were still online only. And there were two services at the same time, so that everyone had plenty of room to spread out for proper social distancing. Because our service ended before the other service, we did not see the people who were in the other service, only those who were in our service. The singing was a little different because there were fewer people and everyone was singing through a mask. But God still heard it all and received the praise that we offered. So it was all good.
Yes, things were a little different for us. Some things were just inconveniences, like not being able to shake hands or hug anyone. We are very much a loving church, so that took a bit of restraint for some people. After all, I have been conditioned for all of my life to stick out my hand to shake when greeting someone, so that took some thought on occasion.
Some other things were slightly uncomfortable, such as wearing a mask for the whole service. My glasses kept fogging up, especially after I ran up the stairs to the sound room a couple of times. Laura has since improved our masks slightly so that fogging won’t be an issue. But there is still the issue of breathing through a mask, or trying to talk without your mask slipping down, or trying to hear what a soft talker is saying behind their mask. I never thought of myself as a lip reader, but apparently I can understand what someone is saying a little better by seeing what their mouth does. But our health department strongly recommends that everyone wear a mask, and we are trying to abide by that.
So yes, we had to make a few sacrifices to be able to worship together again. But those were minor overall. And they were especially minor when compared to the sacrifice that Christ made on the cross for us. That big sacrifice makes wearing a mask and social distancing in order to worship seem like very minor things. It is all about perspective.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. - Philippians 2:3-4
About the Photo
One of the things I love about photos is being able to remember something that I had forgotten. Although I had enjoyed seeing those padded pews in Nassau, I had really forgotten about them until I looked at this photo. Just one minor but fun memory in a series of great memories from our visit. And so I keep taking photos when we go places. Just in case I forget little things like that.
And the photo of us at church was taken by a friend using my iPhone. I thought it would be a good reminder of how things are right now, in case we ever get back to what we used to consider normal.
Photo: A single Raw exposure, processed in Luminar. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Sony Alpha A7 II
Lens: Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Lens
Date: December 19, 2018
Location: Christ Church Cathedral, Nassau, Bahamas