I've jsut got back from a weekend away with the young adults' group at church. A good time was had, but as ever a fair few things got me thinking. Here's one of them - it happened this morning and was the lowest point of the weekend for me...
The power in the buildings we were staying in had gone (no real problem), so the meeting was moved from our usual meeting room (which was apparently too cold) to the dining room (which was warmer as we'd already been using it for breakfast and it had a nice log fire. Great, I thought, as I saw all the seats in a nice arrangement round tables and the musicians making room for their instruments.
But then people started moving the tables towards the back of the room, and putting all the chairs out in horribly regimented rows. The room looked so much worse, and I had to leave to try to avoid getting angry or something.
If we're singing to God and one another, surely it makes more sense to be facing one another than to have everyone looking in the same direction, so you can't see the face of anyone you're singing to! God doesn't say "when two or three are gathered in my name, there I am hiding under the table at the front!"
If we're listening to a talk, it's just as easy to listen when sitting round tables - just turn your chair to face the speaker.
Given that we spent a fair bit of time discussing stuff, surely it would have been better to discuss round the tables that were there to start with than try to move the chairs again to discuss things.
I've been to a few churches where people normally sit around tables for the service, and they're generally much friendlier, and it doesn't make it any harder to listen to the sermon or anything.