About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman
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.
"... 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
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,
in-person interaction. Sitting
in a pew in a corporate setting does little to enhance supportive
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.