“Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another --- and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25
Granted, as we have experienced one of the coldest and snowiest winter in Chicago’s recorded history, it’s hard to imagine that summer will soon be here. Nevertheless, while the thermometer may not tell the tale, the calendar does. The summer months are upon us and the signs are beginning to appear. The grass is beginning to grow. Flowers are trying with all their might to open their petals. The birds are singing.
With the hope of warmer days and beautiful weather comes the desire to enjoy a little vacation and outdoor activities. We need that to “recharge the batteries” after a long and seemingly never ending winter. The warmth and the sunshine rejuvenate us and renew our energy and strength.
While all the summer activities do refresh us both physically and emotionally, let’s not let the summer months eclipse our need for spiritual refreshment either. By that, I mean attending worship. With the busy-ness that summer often brings, it is important that we remember that our “spiritual batteries” also need constant and consistent recharging.
The author of Hebrews expresses that need in the above verse. What exactly was happening with the church to which he wrote is unclear. However, what is clear is that at least some had given up meeting together,that is, some had quit coming to worship. In fact, he says that it had become a habit for them to miss worship. They had become used to not going to church for whatever reason and thus missed out on the gifts God gives in worship. What God provided for their renewal and rejuvenation, his Word and Sacrament, were neglected. Clearly he sees this as not being a good habit.
It is easy to understand how one might fall into that habit. With the summer months we feel we need a break from pretty much everything. When the weather is beautiful and there are so many options for what to do, worship can quickly fade into the background. However, while missing worship occasionally may not bring about immediate spiritual harm, missing consistently will. Batteries need to be recharged and if we fall into the habit of consistently missing worship, there is a danger that our spiritual batteries will eventually go dead and that’s a problem.
That’s why the author of Hebrews talks about encouraging one another to attend worship. He is not talking about nagging here. He is talking about the spiritual obligation we have to one another to build each other up in the faith. He is talking about urging your fellow Christian to come, to hear God’s Word and to be encouraged by the Gospel. And this he says, all the more as we see the Day of our Lord approaching. Worship is how our Lord prepares us for the Day when he finally returns. Worship is how he strengthens us to stand before him on the Day of Judgment. Worship is his way of equipping us that our faith might always be firm.
So, this summer, let’s not give up meeting together. I encourage all of you to make worship a priority. You need it. I need it. We all need it and through the ministry of Faith, Hope and Peace Ministries, God will strengthen you in your faith especially in this COVID.
Most Holy and Gracious God, you have called us by the Gospel of Jesus to be your people of faith and you have graciously given us worship wherein you come to us to give us your gifts. Keep us from being neglectful of these gifts so that on the day of our Lord’s return, we might be fully prepared to meet him. In Jesus’ name. Amen.