In Hebrews we are reminded to gather together for spurring one another on to love and good deeds. When we gather the author also implores us to encourage one another. There must have been a division or some friction that was causing some to stay away from the church’s gatherings. At times we still see this issue today.
A few recent trends in society have led some to this isolated approach as well. The prevalence of a me-first, consumer mentality is a primary factor. If it does not make us totally happy and meet our every need and demand, well it is not for us then – we’ll just stay home. A second trend that leads some to not gather as the body is the general anti-institutional vibe – anti-government, anti-establishment, and even anti-church. A third change is the depth or level of our friendships. People have tons of friends on Facebook but almost no one to sit down and have a real, heart-felt conversation with. We would rather e-mail, text, or personal message because a call demands one-on-one time right then. In the old days we would always pick up the phone when it rang. Now we look to see who it is first.
It is nice to read a warm, fuzzy story on social media, but it is a whole different experience to hear a person’s powerful testimony or story as we gather together as the body of Christ. In the same way it is powerful and moving to lift our voices together in prayer or word or song. You can read the words at home or listen to the song on the radio or device, but it is not the same as when together. One can text or message a friend a smiley if we know they are down or struggling, but it is so much more meaningful to put our arm around them and to pray over them.
Jesus saved us to be in fellowship together loving, encouraging, supporting, praying for one another. We do all of this best when gathered together – whether on Sunday morning, in a small group, or just one on one. By our prayers, presence, witness, words, and service, may we gather together each day.
Scripture reference: Hebrews 10: 23-25