Fresh Hope – 9th April 2020

Understandably most of our talk and attention is on the current crisis. Can we just fast-forward for a moment? This virus will pass, and when it does we will able to gather again for church services! Perhaps after experiencing church online, from the comfort of your sofa, new questions will arise, like, ‘why do we even need to physically gather for church meetings?’

I would like to point out a few reasons why physically meeting together is so important. (Please note, I am absolutely NOT suggesting we meet up before the government allows us to. Until we are told otherwise, let us honour each other, and the government by staying at home!). 

What is the value in meeting together?:

1. Some things aren’t just taught, they are caught. Online teaching is a wonderful tool, but there is nothing like being in the room. God is not bound by the walls of a building, but equally some things are imparted through the ‘laying on of hands’, or by being present in the atmosphere (Acts 8:14–19). 

2. Quite simply, God says so. And whenever God tells us to do something, it is for our goodand blessing follows! God tells us in His Word to “not give up meeting together” (Hebrews 10:25). 

3. Corporate worship (worshiping together) is powerful. 

Jesus said, ‘Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.’ (Matthew 18:20). There is a place for private worship, and there is a place for public worship. When we are all physically together, it reminds us that we are not alone, and that we stand as one part of many. An army. We build each other up in our togetherness. 

4. We grow more when we are around others. 

Being around people is good for our character. A rough rock only becomes smooth by rubbing up against other rocks. When we ‘rub up’ or get near other people it smoothes out our character. At present, we don’t exactly Facetime the people that irritate us. But this is exactly the problem. While we are comfortable we aren’t being sharpened. When we are around others, our rough edges are smoothed out. 

5. You cannot fully out work your calling. You are called to be the church (YOU are the church, not a building or meeting), and you are also called to serve the church (serve one another). You absolutely serve the church/one another outside of the four walls of a building or meeting, but gathering together also provides the opportunity to connect in person, build one another up, encourage one another in God and bring something to the table. Church meetings are like the family dinner where we feast, connect and get full before we go about our lives, operating as the church in the community. 

So please isolate in the meantime, but let’s anticipate the day when we can all get back together again, and see the value in it like never before!

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.