Season Ticket Holders · 12 July 2006

Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss.     I Thessalonians 5:26 (NIV)

Back when I was growing up in a small church, everybody pretty much sat in their assigned seats in the sanctuary. They had their “season ticket” seats and everybody knew where everybody else sat. My parents and our family used to sit on the right side of the third pew on the right side of the church as you faced the altar. George and Dorothy used to sit behind us. I do not know if it was just being creatures of habit or if the seats there were more comfortable or whether the acoustics were nicer there but we sat in the same place all the time.

Other people, whether they grew up in small or large churches must have had similar experiences because they all laugh when Pastor Nate (or any preacher for that matter) mentions “season ticket holders.” I have not attended a large church like Cascade Community Church for very much of my life but I do know that being a season ticket holder is not just a comfort thing. For me, being a season ticket holder is a way to make a large church (with hundreds of people attending a single service and several services being held every weekend) feel small and intimate.

I used to think that there was no way that I would ever attend a large church. When I was in college, I attended University Presbyterian Church near the University of Washington a few times. It was huge and I did not know anybody there so I did not make it my home church. When I first came to Cascade, I thought, “This church is huge!” and did not know if it could be my home church. I felt that I could meet God here but I wondered if I could meet others and really build relationships in a church so large. We have now attended Cascade for several years and have become season ticket holders. We sit in the same place during the same service. We often see the same people. Kerry and Jill usually are in front of us and we enjoy greeting them each Sunday. We may not have really gotten to know them if we had not been “randomly” placed into the same Forty Days of Purpose small group. Over to our far left are Martha, Sue, and Rick who we may not always talk to but who we usually wave and smile at. Closer but also on our left is Joyce, Thor, and Janey. We exchange pleasantries and even though we only see each other on Sunday, we enjoy getting to know each other little by little.

When I sit down for service, there is comfort sitting in the same place each week. That security and comfort comes not just from being a comfortable creature of habit but from knowing that as I look around the sanctuary there are familiar and friendly faces. Other season ticket holders around us and throughout the room make the large church a little smaller.

I do not need to know everybody at church but seeing Jill and Kerry in front of us and Thor and Janey and Joyce somewhere near us and Martha, Rick, and Sue over to the left of us and many of the people that we may not remember their names but who we recognize and greet gives me a sense that the church might be large but it can still be friendly and intimate. Everybody in the church might not know who sits in the right side of row three during the first service but those who sit in that area weekly do. Season ticket holders are probably the lifeblood of every church but in a large church such as Cascade they also help make attending service a smaller more intimate experience than it would be without them.

By the way, when we go back to visit my mom and dad, we all still sit in the same pew (and a couple extras if my siblings and their families are there too). I guess in some churches season ticket holders can keep their tickets for generations.

© 2006 Michael T. Miyoshi

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