In recent years the presence of Covid19 has greatly impacted how we do life, including how we live together in community as the people of God. For many of us it has not been possible to regularly meet together and so we have become the church on-line which has made it possible for us to choose the time in our week’s schedule when we can view the latest church service.
But should this become the usual practice as things get back to normal? Some people are asking why we should go back to meeting together as one family. Whilst there are good reasons why some people are unable to do so, there is a danger of compromising a reason for which we exist.
As the writer to the Hebrews challenged us, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25
Or like the New Testament church we read that “They devoted themselves to fellowship…..” Acts 2:42, whether it was in one large group or a smaller group. Fellowship means holding all things in common and sharing together.
“They did not know each other. But now they are one in Christ, and they begin to love each other and start to talk to each other……and to share their problems and burdens and needs, to talk about these things and pray together about them. There was a wonderful sense of community, of commonality, of belonging to each other. That is the fellowship which is the intended life for the body of Christ,” Ray Stedman
We gather together because:-
- We are members of God’s very own FAMILY as He is our heavenly Father.
Therefore coming together REGULARLY is a FAMILY REUNION where all the family assembles, as far as is possible.
- We are members of THE BODY OF CHRIST and each one of us is part of it.
1 Corinthians 12:27
From Him the WHOLE BODY, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, AS EACH PART DOES ITS WORK. Ephesians 4:16
Therefore coming together regularly gives us the opportunity to assemble as THE BODY OF CHRIST to SERVE ONE ANOTHER with the gifts we have been given and to fulfil the many ONE ANOTHERS that we are commanded to live out in relationship with one another. We want to avoid any parts of the body being absent as far as is possible.
- We are LIVING STONES being built into a SPIRITUAL HOUSE to be a HOLY PRIESTHOOD, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:4-5
Therefore coming together regularly gives opportunity for every living stone to form together as a SPIRITUAL HOUSE to offer SPIRITUAL SACRIFICES to God. We want to avoid any gaps in the walls of the house, as far as is possible.
- We are the BRIDE OF CHRIST. 2 Corinthians 11:2
Therefore we come together regularly as a BRIDE to be with our BRIDEGROOM who loves us greatly and gave himself for us.
- We are fellow SOLDIERS in GOD’S ARMY. Philippians 2:25 Philemon 1:2
Therefore as we come together regularly, we come to hear from our COMMANDING OFFICER and are ON PARADE standing shoulder to shoulder with no one absent without leave.
It is in our collective coming together that we form the visible family of God, the body of Christ, a spiritual house the bride of Christ and God’s army. Coming together for church regularly reminds us of these truths and gives expression and a visibility to our identity. Jesus loved the church and gave himself for the church and we are to do the same. We are not a collective of individuals, rather we are one family, one body, one spiritual house, one bride and one army.