Originally published Tuesday, 09 August 2016.
Why am I always so hesitant to gather?
Why do I always see the distance I have to drive?
The screaming kids I have to transport?
The house I have to clean?
The work I have to prepare?
The things I need to remember?
I'm like the anti-Martha, I don't want to do anything to get ready because I am already tired. I just want to sit around at Jesus' feet, but I want to do it alone. I am not sure I am much of a Mary either, because I am pretty sure Mary didn't plan to close the door on the disciples before they arrived.
Can you even imagine that?
How could I want to shut out modern day disciples of Christ?
Disciples who are ready to:
Stir up Good Works and to Encourage:
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. (Heb. 10:24)
Bring Christ with them:
For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. (Mt. 18:20)
Light a House on Fire with Wisdom and Joy:
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Col. 3:16)
Teach me Humility:
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. (Ro. 12:16)
Build Love, Compassion and Humility:
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. (1 Pet. 3:8)
Foster Stronger Faith:
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Ro. 10:17)
The real roots of Christian life are watered when we gather.
They are watered when we look at a brother or sister and say, "I need you..."
Not when we say,
I have figured out the way.
In my home I am going to stay,
so I can stay above the fray.
When we do this, we start to spiritually decay.
Christianity is meant to be an "I need you..." kind of thing. It's supposed to be an "I-can't-be-all-God-wants-me-to-be-without-you" kind of thing.
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. (1 Cor. 12:27)
If we all make up his body, is there a use for a head, without a neck? If we don't have each other, can we, the body, really operate effectively?
Rolling heads really can't serve God and they surely can't carry out God's mission on earth with any power. Rolling heads can't even speak coherent words because they haven't been fed by the body.
Faith is really developed as we feed the body and build each part stronger. Then each part can go and accomplish what it was set forth to do.
As the body meets, Christ meets the body.
As the body gathers, Christ equips it.
As the body prays, Christ is present.
As the body moves, Christ prompts it through his word.
Christ equips his body, because his body is him. He comes to strengthen us, the body carriers, who are all at work building up the body of Christ, attaining the unity of faith and the knowledge of the son of God, until we attain the full measure of Jesus Christ (Eph. 4:12-13).
I want a "full measure of Jesus Christ", don't you?
Until then, I am starting to think the secret to unity is found in this verse:
"Be humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." (Eph. 4:2-3)
Perhaps, the biggest reason why I may not want to meet is that I fear I won't bear up under another or I will get annoyed or I will judge. I am afraid. Perhaps, it's not even about them, but it is about me and my fears.
But, here is the thing, if we are the body of Christ and Christ lives in us, then in a sense, there is nothing for me to fear. Because "there is no fear in love. But perfect love (the perfect love of Christ) drives out fear..."
Gathering as a body, unites the body in love and, through the power of Jesus Christ, fear is cast out.
Who needs to fear
when Christ has already made me entirely secure in his love
and incredibly significant through his promises?
In this, there is no longer fear when others gather near, but only a deep knowledge that Christ is near.