The meeting of the saints

November 4, 2020 | by: Shawn Horrall | 2 Comments

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. — Hebrews 10:24-25

Reflection:

The concept of the "Church" is something that has enjoyed prominence in theology and teaching since the Church's inception. Ancient Christians were instructed to have a high view of the Church. (Cyprian taught, "No one can have God for his Father, who does not have the Church for his mother. It was as possible to escape outside Noah’s Ark as it is to escape outside of the Church.")

However, the Church of Jesus Christ has been under constant assault since its formation. Regardless of when you determine its beginnings — in the early Old Testament or at Pentecost — the Church has witnessed repeated attacks by Satan and his minions because it stands as a visible representation of the work of Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit. Even today we feel the effects of fallen nature and attacks by Satan bringing difficulty, trials, and mourning to the Church by a novel virus.

A consequence of this virus is that we decided, in good faith, to stop meeting for a time, and we continue to encourage those who have particular health issues to remain at home. While we have been blessed with technology as a stop-gap measure, we have also felt that something is lacking with Zoom.

What does this mean for us today? Some believe it reasonable to meet corporately for worship; others have not felt this freedom. This is not to say that many have excellent reasons for not attending church in person — these decisions should be accepted in good faith and with charity. For those not providentially hindered, we must not allow ourselves to fall away, to find ourselves neglecting to meet with the body of Christ. If the primary reason we decide not to meet together in person is out of convenience, I fear that a falling away from the faith may be the result. Zoom is no solution to taking part in the service of the Church with your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

The prayer of this Church, Christ Presbyterian Church, will be that through all the current trials there will be a refined Bride of Christ, radiant and loved by its groom. How do we help bring this about? We are to guard the faith of one another and maintain the purity of the Church. We are to encourage one another and stir each other up to love and to do good works. We are not to neglect the meeting of the saints — be it virtual or, even better, in person.

Response:

  1. What does the Church mean to you? Does the church of Christ take a prominent position in your weekly life — or is it important when it is convenient?
  2. Have you decided when you will begin meeting together in person with the rest of your church family? In other words, what is your line in the sand when you will return? Are you resuming other aspects of social life but neglecting church meetings?
  3. If you are providentially hindered from meeting in person, how might you creatively encourage and engage with your fellow believers to stir each other up to love and good works?

2 COMMENTS

Ginny Thomas

Nov 9, 2020

You echoed many of my thoughts, Shawn. I was finding it more and more difficult to be actively participating in corporate worship on Zoom, and felt that the service was becoming just another message that I listened to during my day. My personal decision was to start attending in person, but it's hard to break through the inertia once the habitual practice of attending church is broken.

Chris Windsor

Nov 4, 2020

Well said, Shawn. I am concerned for the Church that takes corporate worship so lightly. Your statement about falling away from the faith is spot on.

Your brother in Christ,
Chris

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