When you last heard a sermon given from a pulpit, what was your reaction? Whilst pulpits can of themselves be beautiful and stately, intricately carved and decorated, they can also be places of separateness. Rather than ending up helping the congregation to hear and see the preacher better, they can sometimes become a block to doing just that.
And it is not just pulpits. There are other things that can diminish our paying attention to the sermon.
For one thing, in some churches the individual appearance of the minister may be distracting. This is one reason why robes and vestments are worn – to keep ‘personality’ out of worship; to enable people to concentrate on God, not the person up front.
Then again, there is the increased use of electronic devices in worship. Seeing the preacher preach from an ‘electronic’ tablet can take some getting used to.
Or what about flower arrangements at the pulpit? Some may be so spectacular that people hardly see or hear the preacher, in the midst of all those blooms.
But the good news is that the dominance of the pulpit can give authority to what is said from it. And as the preacher climbs into it, they can feel a renewed assurance and confidence that they are about to speak God’s words and He is with them.
The feature image for this post shows the Pulpit in Welshampton Church. Copyright Meres and Meadows Messenger.