September 28, 2009

Be In and Of the Body

Yesterday morning, both my wife and I were a bit under the weather. In an act of self-mercy (as well as being merciful to others) we stayed home and watched our church services via webcast at the 121 Community Church webcast.

It was good to be able to participate in the worship service, to be able to hear the weekly sermon, especially since the whole church the study Experiencing God over a nine week period. Basically, you do the daily devotionals, come to church on study and listen to a message grounded in what was covered that past week, and then over the upcoming week discuss both the personal and corporate reflections in a small group setting. And we are doing it 1st graders and up. A pretty cool thing to do. (By the way, we have some good sessions on evangelism coming next weekend.)

But while my wife and I got to participate via a webcast, it drove home one point with crystal clarity: for us, there is no substitute for worshiping in person in the body as the family of Christ. It was good to be part of a service yesterday, but it was not what we would have chosen to do otherwise. Although it opens an avenue to worship when events require other than traditional, in person attendance, there is nothing like the genuine article. To open our church to others who may not experience our worship services is a great thing, but I pray it brings people in to worship with us in person when circumstances allow, I pray it drives a hunger to do so whenever possible.

There is nothing that strengthens a personal walk with God like spending some time walking it with others:

"and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near."
Hebrews 10:24-25 (NASB)

It was a good reminder in this age of burgeoning social media, where we can stay "connected" to others as never before, how alone we can truly become if we do not exercise that part of us that requires us to be social beings, in concert and connection with others on an intensely personal level. Do not be lulloed into thinking thatany connection is as good as being with people; being with people in heart, in spirit and in body.

Be in the body as well as being of the body; especially as you try to be be in the world but not of it.