New Year’s Resolution #4: To strengthen connections with the body of Christ.
Read Hebrews 10:19-25
“Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together.”
This last year has certainly been one that is unparalleled in the history of the church in the United States. For the first time, we have faced a scattered church that has been virtual rather than personal. Although how we do church has been different during this period, the task of being the church has not changed. As we continue to navigate through this whole process we are continually reminded that we are still part of the church fellowship and still have the task of encouraging one another. The church has never been about merely attending a service on Sunday and shaking hands with the people we sit next to. The church is a 7 days-a-week event where we interact with one another and support one another. This is even more important today in an age of physical distancing.
In Hebrews 10, the writer reminds us that we have a new relationship with God through the sacrifice of Christ. Because of the blood of Christ, we have been brought into a new way of living, one where we not only have direct access to God but one where we are placed into a community of believers. The moment we accept Christ, not only are we baptized by the Holy Spirit, but we are baptized into the body of Christ (Romans 6:3, 1 Corinthians 12:13). This inclusion within the church is grounded both in our unity with the Holy Spirit and the need for mutual care and ministry to one another. The Christian life is never meant to be lived out in isolation, rather we in the community of believers who use their spiritual gift for the benefit of others. Consequently, there is no unimportant member.
In light of this new and living way, the writer of Hebrews exhorts us to maintain the assembling together so that we might jointly support one another. The purpose of the church is to stimulate one another to love God and others and promote the common good of the body of Christ. In the journey of the Christian life, we are given the companionship of one another to help us when any one of us falter. The church is not a place to receive the ministry of the church staff, rather it is a place where each of us are to care for one another. The writer of Hebrews then states that this is even more important “as you see the day drawing near.” In other words, the closer we are to the return of Christ, the greater the trials we will face, and the more we need one another.
The same is true today. In this time of uncertainty, we need one another even more. God is using these events to bring a corrective to the church. It is forcing us to get back to the foundation of the church, that church is not about how we interact on Sunday, but how we network during the week. This is why I want to challenge you to be intentional in your ministry to others and be resolved to become more connected to others. Not only do you need their fellowship, but they need yours as well. We need to be creative and think of new ways to connect with each other. Call others in the church. Be a part of a small group and form “Spiritual bubbles” rather than just social bubbles. Have zoom dinner parties. Send texts to others with words of encouragement and prayer. Invite others to join our virtual services. Send cards of encouragement. The problem is not the opportunities for fellowship, the problem is our creativity in fellowship. This year make a commitment to become even more connected to the church family than you were even before Covid-19 and see how God will work.