|Posted on March 20, 2021 at 11:05 AM|
We’ve had a lot to complain about in the past year, and we’ve done a lot of complaining. We’ve been through a season of plague, financial uncertainty, racial and political unrest – all while being isolated from each other.
Did you know that statistics are showing that many people, even though it is becoming safer and more accessible, are choosing to not return to Sunday services? We’ve gotten accustomed to streaming the service online, studying on our own, or worse – just giving up the practice of a regular worship time altogether.
We know that spirituality and our relationship with God is not contained to a building or a denomination, but it is so easy to slip into a habit of making something besides God the priority in our lives. It’s important to understand that attending church isn’t just about being encouraged – it’s equally critical that we are encouraging one another.
On-line services are great as long as we keep our attention focused on what’s happening on the screen, but they can’t replace the emotional and spiritual connection we get by worshipping with other like-minded Believers. And it’s just too easy to become distracted while watching services on the screen, with no one around to keep us centered.
Studying under the tutelage of a great scriptural scholar, writer or Evangelist is wonderful, but it doesn’t provide the opportunity for an exchange of ideas, and the comfort and strength we get by being united in our sanctuaries, sharing each other’s joy and pain. Without the involvement of a regular time together, how can our family participate in each other’s lives in any meaningful way? By phone, by text… or by looking someone else in the eye and letting them know they aren’t alone? We cannot allow isolation to be our new normal.
In Hebrews 10:25, the Apostle Paul encouraged the church saying “Let us not neglect our church meetings, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of His coming back again is drawing near.” The Greek word for neglect translates to “giving up,” as used when describing desertion and abandonment. He was saying, now’s the time to circle the wagons - not to go off on our own and try to “do life” on our own.
Going to church is an act of worship. Making time in our schedules, getting up out of bed, putting our clothes on, corralling the kids and finding our way into the actual church building is a choice. It’s one we’ve not had the privilege of enjoying for a while and staying in tune with each other has been a challenge, but we’re getting that opportunity again. It’s going to take a minute to start making the choice to fit God – and our family of God – back into our lives. But it is critical.
Proverbs 27:17 says “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” We need each other. It’s that simple. The season of required inactivity is on it’s way out, and the army of God needs to re-gather and prepare for the coming battle. It’s time to re-establish our old alliances, renew our strength as a unit, replenish the coffers, and begin this new season with the strength we get from each other. As the old hymn proclaims:
Onward Christian soldiers! Marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus, going on before
Christ the royal Master leads again the foe
Forward into battle - see His banners go!
Be blessed, my friend, God is on the throne.