More and more, I am convinced that we need to understand what being "church together" means. We think of ourselves as a friendly church and those who come to visit will reinforce that; people are made to feel welcome and at home; we speak to them and invite them for coffee; we send them a Christmas card if they have signed our visitors' book. Brilliant!
Being Church together, however, is bigger than that. I read something today that said "Discipleship is a God's family affair" - in other words, being Christian and following Jesus as His disciples is something that we do together. That is a huge shift in our thinking: we usually think of discipleship and following Jesus as being about "my faith" and "my response", but actually it is better to be disciples together, encouraging one another, learning from one another. I'm told by some that they don't come to Bible Study or group prayer time because they don;t want to show their ignorance; another recent conversation with someone who comes to Bible study group, but who very rarely speaks, revealed to me just how much he is learning about the Christian life just by being there.
Ask questions; listen to one another; respect one another; care for one another. Don't think that one person knows it all, whether that person is you or someone else. Equally, don't rubbish someone else because you take a different opinion.
A community of faith? Or a collection of disparate individuals who just happen to share a common interest in religion? The Church should be a community of faith.
The 5 "let-us"-es of Hebrews 10:19-25
- "let us draw near to God"
- "let us hold unswervingly to hope"
- "let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds"
- "let us not give up meeting together"
- "let us encourage one another"
Reflect on the "us" - something to do together!