The Blessing of the Church Community.
Devotional thought of the Day:
10:19 We have, then, my friends, complete freedom to go into the Most Holy Place by means of the death of Jesus. 20 He opened for us a new way, a living way, through the curtain—that is, through his own body. 21 We have a great priest in charge of the house of God. 22 So let us come near to God with a sincere heart and a sure faith, with hearts that have been purified from a guilty conscience and with bodies washed with clean water. 23 Let us hold on firmly to the hope we profess, because we can trust God to keep his promise. 24 Let us be concerned for one another, to help one another to show love and to do good. 25 Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more, since you see that the Day of the Lord is coming nearer.
Hebrews 10:19-25 (TEV)
It is amazing to be the recipient of the concern and encouragement that comes from what our creeds, the traditional belief statements of the Church call the “communion of saints.”
Yesterday, I saw this in action – as some of our members were dealing with incredible challenges, and the service seemed to emphasize our need to depend on God. Even as I was preaching, the pains were evident, and I was praying for them, yet the wear and tear must have been obvious on me, for I too was the recipient of prayers and encouragement, and similar words pointing me to the Lord who endured the cross, for us. Broken and battered by life, struggling with recent losses, the Body broken for us, the Blood shed for our forgiveness and healing, was given, and the body of Christ that are the church, was the church. ANd sincere hearts, and those who trust in Him, were brought together in Him.
The thing that is amazing about this community, this Body of Christ, is how it transcends time and distance. Former members, kids who had grown up in our congregation were there, and welcomed back. The pastor that served me and lots of other youth was there, someone I haven’t seen in 25 years, and he too, in songs blessed us with that same message of God’s work in our lives, His being a refuge for His people. He gave a concert last night, and people from my youth were there, as well as from the church were I served as an intern – connections were made between us all. And in each case, their presence re-inforced the concept that this is one faith, one church, and one Lord of all!
I used to think that such community was the source of our strength, there sociologically, a team bound together under pressure, creates a esprit de corps that is nearly palpable. But with the church, it is far more, far deeper, for the strength is not in any individual and multiplied, nor is it the strength of the combined people. It is, instead, found in the Lord of the Church, the One who brings us together, the One who can be always trusted to keep His promises.
Instead of the usual invitation to discuss this, today I would ask that you tell your stories, of how God has ministered to you, even as He has ministered through you. Such would be a blessing to all who read this.