About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
Is Not A Meeting
Due to Covid 19,
governments have shut down Sunday church meetings. President
Trump and many American church-goers are demanding the re-opening of
Sunday meetings so, as they say, "people can practice their
faith." If practicing
faith solely revolves around, or depends on, a Sunday meeting, then one
misunderstands what practicing faith means.
More often than not, the
New Testament shows that the practicing of faith is an activity that takes
place outside of a meeting. It's
what Jesus commanded His apostles to do when He said "go into all the
world" (Matthew 28:19). Hiding
in the upper room (Acts 1:13) was not an option.
Taking the gospel from the upper room into the local community, as
is described in Acts 2, was how the believers began to practice their faith.
I'm not minimizing the
importance of meetings. I'm
putting them in their proper Biblical perspective, which I believe is
reflected in Hebrews 10:25.
" ... 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."
Hebrews 10:25 does tell
us to not stop meeting together, but it says much more than that.
The Greek text translates the word "episynagoge" into
English as "meeting together." "Episynagoge"
is not a Greek word as you might expect.
It's a Hebrew word that has been transliterated and inserted into
the Greek text. It's a word
rooted in the ancient Hebrew word "synagoge" which represented
the community of Jews living in supportive relationships with each other
and with their God. The
concept of community, when it was actually practiced, was central to the
life of the individual Jew.
The Jewish Christians to
whom the book of Hebrews was written would have understood Hebrews 10:25
to say that they must not separate themselves from those to whom Jesus had
placed them in supportive relationships in Christian community.
It was within communal relationships where they practiced, or put
into action, their faith in Jesus.
Hebrews 10:25 ends with
reference to the end of this age, which many believe is an age of
anti-Christ dominance that imposes much hardship on the Christian.
It is for this reason that Christians cannot afford to forsake
living in supportive relationships as they practice their faith within the Community of Christ.
The practicing of faith in Jesus is a daily activity that is performed by ourselves and with those to whom Jesus has placed us alongside in the Community of Christ, the church. As "the Day" approaches, the practicing of our faith within the context of Christian community is a necessity of life.