Let us not give up meeting together!

thePsalmist on June 20th, 2009

I just love it when verses in the Bible appear to have been written for a specific occassion in OUR lives, rather than the lives of people 2000 years ago. This week saw one of those occassions.

In our deanery (that’s a collection of local CofE churches) we’re having a celebration in a week or two’s time. The idea is that we’re going to draw together all the churches in our deanery and the neighbouring one for an evening of food, music and sharing our good news stories of the stuff God is doing in our midst.

Trouble is … people are often very reluctant to bother going! It’s incredibly frustrating to be honest, and you wonder why people grumble about nothing nice to do, and then when they’re offered with something really lovely they can’t be bothered to go. Very weird!

So I went along to our neighbouring deanery’s synod meeting and shared my enthusiasm for the event and shared these verses:

Hebrews 10:24-25 ”And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, not staying away from our meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”

In our tough times in which we live churches are struggling. Round here in one of the toughest areas of the UK we live, work and worship amongst vast areas of deprivation. The people in our churches are hard pressed on every side. Financially, emotionally, practically … we face and endure hardship constantly. We hear a lot of talk of the UK being one of the richest nations in the world … well, round here it really doesn’t feel like it.

In terms of sizes of congregations too, our churches are small and struggling. Couple the small numbers, and the low incomes, with often incredibly high maintenance bills to pay on old historic church buildings and you see a picture emerging of real struggle and pain amongst God’s people.

So an opportunity to enthuse, inspire, encourage and simply edify the body of Christ in these parts is essential.

Paul was writing this in his letter to the Hebrews. They too were hard pressed on every side. They had their list of struggles and difficulties. And he recognised that somehow in the being together there was joy and blessing.

It is odd then that at times of great difficulty we seem never to really learn the lesson of the ages past that sharing our lives with others is GOOD! We tend to retreat into our own private and personal space. Our natural instinct appears to go against our basic needs. When times are tough we NEED each other, but we tend to not want others involved.

Let Hebrews 10:24-25 serve as a timely reminder to you that God made us to live in community and relationship with others. When God is working in one community of faith, the blessing can be shared amongst others too … but only through relationships with each other.

So knock down the barriers, kick down the walls, and reach out and enjoy the fruitfulness of being in relationship with the other churches around you. God is there too you know!

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