Have you ever looked around the pews at mass and have it look as though Moses had parted the Red Sea? I have often wondered why it is that people like to sit snug on the ends and avoid the middle. Perhaps it is because they don’t want to be stuck in the middle if they have to get up or go. Perhaps they have claustrophobia. Perhaps you are one of those people.
If you are I challenge you to reflect on why it is you like to sit on the end. Why are you sitting there? Is it because you want to be able to leave whenever you want? If you are going to take the time to go to mass don’t you think you should fully commit to being at mass for as long as the mass will take? Give that hour-or-so to God and give it to Him fully. Do not hold yourself back.
I challenge you to slide down and sit in the middle.
The first time you do it it may be hard. You may not like it. But try it and truly commit to being at mass. Do not look forward to the end when you can rush out. Try it a few times and watch what happens. How do you feel?
Take it from a former end sitter – there is a peace, a calmness, a feeling of community you get when you seat yourself in the middle of that parted sea and bridge the gap between the left and right. You are not worried about being crowded in. You welcome it. You are not worried about when the mass will end. You embrace its length.
Have you ever gone into mass late and wished someone had sat in the middle so that you could easily enter a pew? Wouldn’t it have been nice to see a welcoming row where you didn’t have to squeeze past an end sitter or cause them to begrudgingly slide to the middle? When you sit in the middle willingly you make your row feel so welcoming. It has been my experience that when I sit in the middle my row fills up with more people. And that translates into me feeling more connected to the mass community which makes the communal experience of the mass all the greater.
Mass is not a solo event held just for you to come and check in with God, to cross Him off your “to do” list. No! Mass is a communal event meant for you to come and check in with God and other believers and feel God’s love then live God’s love. Through mass God gives you a place to share in your love of God with others who want to experience God too. The point isn’t to “go to mass”. The point is to celebrate mass.
How better to celebrate than to sit in the middle, commit yourself to being fully present during the mass, create a welcoming community, and close the parted sea?