About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman

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More Than Meetings


Some of us are concerned that Covid 19 government restrictions are prohibiting us from gathering in meetings as is our routine.  We quote Hebrews 10:25 that seems to command us to not stop meeting.  I believe Hebrews 10:25 concerns more than meetings.  It reads:


"... not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching."


Our English words "meeting together" in this verse are translated from the Greek word "episynagoge."  Actually, this word is more of a Hebrew word that was inserted into the Greek text than it is a Greek word.  Episynagoge is rooted in Old Testament Jewish culture where it represented the community of people belonging to God and to each other.  Community was to be central to the daily existence of the Jews.  For this reason, episynagoge has more to do with living in community than attending meetings.  Knowing this assists us in understanding Hebrews 10:25.    


When we realize the words "meeting together" in Hebrews 10:25 means "living in community," we learn that we are not to separate ourselves from the community of believers to whom Jesus has joined us.  As in Old Testament times, Christian community is to be central to the daily existence of our lives.  It is there where we are to be knitted together in personal, supportive, and functional relationships.  These relationships are developed and maintained through ongoing, one-on-one, in-person interaction.  Sitting in a pew in a corporate setting does little to enhance supportive relationships.   Besides, that's not what a meeting is all about.   


With the above in mind, our present Covid 19 situation might be exposing a deficiency in today's style of church.  Those who just attend meetings without experiencing supportive relationships may be feeling isolated and lonely.  Those who experience supportive relationships don't find themselves isolated in a lonely corner of church.  


I do miss the corporate expression of church, and an expression it is.  It's not the totality of church.  A close reading of the book of Acts shows us that church is people whose service for Jesus, more often than not, takes place outside of meetings.  Nevertheless, I miss the hugs, the laughs, the teasing, the worship, the teaching, the preaching, and all of the rest that transpires in a gathering of the saints.  What I don't miss is my supportive friendship I have with those whom Jesus has placed me alongside in His community of believers.  They were intact long before Covid 19 hit us and they are intact today.            


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