TAKE SOME TIME TO......THINK
TAKE A MOMENT TO....MEDITATE
Traditionally, Lent has been a time of preparation through prayer and fasting for the celebration of Easter. It was a time for believers in the early centuries of the church to mourn their sins and sinfulness, preparing for the profession of their faith in Jesus Christ as their Saviour and Lord at the Easter Sunday celebration. This was always done in conjunction with others and so was the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus.
“No Man is an Island.” Thiss insightful statement by John Donne, is an excellent introduction to the need for worship and fellowship not only during the Lenten season, which concludes with a variety of Holy Week opportunities. But fellowship and worship is needed during the whole year. We cannot do without one another in the life, ministry and body of Jesus Christ. We cannot know the truth, reality and the blessedness of being Christians without relationships and experiences with other Christians.
In John 15:12 the night before going to the cross Jesus said to His early disciples “Love one another, as I have loved you.” In Hebrews 10:24-25, the author exhorts the Christians several decades later as well as believers today. “Let us consider how to stir one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another.”
Some people say that they do not need to go to church to be a Christian. It is true that a person does not become a Christian by going to church. A person becomes a Christian by confessing one's sinfulness, accepting/receiving Jesus Christ as one's Savior and obediently trusting in Him as Lord. But a person does need to participate in a church, which is a community of believers, for the very reasons stated in the above scripture. Now the experience of community can occur through worship in a large group setting, but deeper community is experienced in personal friendships, through individual conversations and in small group settings like Youth groups, Bible study groups, prayer groups or S.S. classes.
Being with one another as Christians is very, very important. It is vital for the individual believer and other believers.
We cannot be “a live” Christian, if we are not taking the time to maintain our faith and spend time in friendship with others who have faith in God, worshipping, serving and enjoying each other's friendship in Christ. Here is a short story which illustrates this.
A preacher in a rural community heard that a man in his parish had announced that he would no longer attend worship services and participate in his church, because he had decided he could commune with God just as easily in his fields and garden and among his trees.
One early spring evening, the preacher called on this reluctant Christian and for a while the two men sat before the blazing fire-place saying little or nothing, and not a word about the church. The man waited uneasily for the preacher to bring up the subject. The preacher was aware that he was expected to rebuke the man.
Finally, the preacher picked up the tongs, lifted a single glowing coal from the fire and set it down on the hearth, and silently waited until the coal quickly ceased burning while the other coals in the fire continued to burn brightly. “You see what happens,” said the preacher. “You do not need to say any more,” replied the man. “Man cannot live alone. I'll be at church next Sunday.”
Christians need each other not only during Lent, Holy Week and Easter, but every week. Let me encourage you to be in a church of your choice each and every Sunday, worshipping God in fellowship with other Christians!
Pastor Perry DeGroot