Sometimes, though, staying home from weekly worship is an act of cowardice, a passive rebellion, the first step in a walk away from God.
I love the church and believe it was one of God’s best ideas. When we enter into relationship with Him, we enter into a family. We are no longer alone on this outpost of glory. We belong.
But, we don’t receive immediate perfection. Frankly, most of us are a mess on the day of our adoption into Christ’s family and our ragged edges remain serrated and hazardous for years and years to come.
It takes holy courage to face us week after week. Church is not for the fainting soul. It is a place for brave hearts to gather.
It requires special courage from those who love God deepest in between weekly services. Alone in our prayers and time in God’s Word, our minds fill with images of communities of others sold out for Christ. We eagerly anticipate corporate worship and arrive prepared to celebrate Him with like minds.
The reality sometimes sucker punches us right in the plexus of our souls. How can these be His saints, these bumbling clods who take so casually their relationship with the Almighty, or who bicker on His doorstep, or who perseverate on minutia before the altar of His Glory?
And, we also stumble at our own reflection, as we fall so far short of our goals for following Christ, for being like Him, for focusing on only Him for this brief hour. Doesn’t He deserve far more and yet we can barely make it through this without returning to our own small thoughts and daydreams.
It is during corporate worship we’re most likely to slam hard into what is lacking in us, in our world, and in those who profess Him to our left and to our right. We can allow this lack to drive us away from Him or draw us closer to Him. This is the choice He presents at every gathering of believers.
It requires special courage to gather weekly with others to worship Jesus in a world so far from home, and yet to avoid it, to absent ourselves, to stay home, is to mimic the worst chapter in King David’s life.
“In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.” 2 Samuel 11:1
David remained home when it was time for kings to go out to battle. And it was the first sad decision in his undoing.
When believers stay home when it is time to gather to worship, it can be an act of cowardice that becomes a foothold that becomes a stronghold that breaks His throne in our own souls.
Yes, the church falls short and that’s often hard to face head on, but if Jesus is willing to show up there, so should we. Who sees better than He our lame attempts at following, our pathetic tries at love and understanding, our pale shadows of worshiping like the hosts of heaven.
And yet, where two or three are gathered in His name, there He is in our midst. Can we do any less?
What better thing is there in this life than to be where Jesus is? He is where two or three gather.
Where are you, loved ones?
— Lori Roeleveld (@lorisroeleveld) May 14, 2017