I’ve been working my way through Kelly Minter’s study, “Encountering God,” for a few weeks on my own. I don’t work on it daily, because I also like to read my Bible, journal, read additional books, and I’m often interrupted by littles. But I have been enjoying it and chipping away at it little by little. The study is on “cultivating habits of faith through spiritual disciplines,” and I must admit, one of the lessons that really challenged me, is the one on worship through celebration.
She began this lesson reviewing some of the feasts that the Israelites would have celebrated in Old Testament times, the why and how they were celebrated: The feast of Unleavened Bread, Feast of Weeks, and Feast of Booths. She then goes on to say:
As we turn our attention to the New Testament, we see that the Jewish holidays of the Old Testament are no longer prescribed for followers of Christ–they have been fulfilled in Him. The body of Christ can now celebrate at any time and in any place–the most significant celebration being the weekly gathering of the church. Yearly feasts were incredible, but regular community in Christ is better. The party can now be cued anytime believers are present with one another celebrating the shared life of Christ.Kelly Minter, “Encountering God,” p. 105
Her main point in this lesson is about celebrating the Lord with our lives, together as a family of believers! We’re talking not just in church but living our lives like the early New Testament believers. Dining with each other, celebrating with each other, mourning with each other. Encouraging one another, discipling, doing ministry alongside each other, and just walking and talking through life’s joys and difficulties.
I’ve been thinking a lot about some who have neglected returning to Church because of their fear of COVID, and I just want to point out that you’re really missing out. We can read our Bible all we want at home, and worship on our own. We can work through Bible studies, and read all the books, but we’ll be missing out on the celebration of the Lord in doing life with other believers. Hebrews 10:24-25 tells us, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” And let’s not forget Proverbs 27:17, which states, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” We need each other to grow in our faith!
Paul David Tripp, in his devotional, “New Morning Mercies” also reminds us that “We were not wired by creation or re-creation to live on our own. Independent, self-focused living never goes anywhere good. We must all come to understand and accept the truth that our walks with God are community projects. We were not designed to live the Christian life on our own. The reason God calls us to this high quality of relationships is because relationships are an irreplaceable tool in his redemptive hands.”
Lastly, if there are any who are still using fear of sickness as an excuse to return to community. My question is this…How can we trust Christ with our souls, but not with our lives on the earth? Our number of days on the earth are preordained! That’s why the Word say “which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” (Matthew 6:27; Luke 12:25).
Don’t forsake your community. We need each other.
Truth, love, and grace!