“It’s NOT Normal!”
“25 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)
As you know, this last Sunday was the first weekend we cancelled services together at Holy Emmanuel to help avoid the further spread of coronavirus. It was a real blessing from our Lord Jesus to be able to transmit a service via the internet in a time like this. It wasn’t too many years ago, such a thing wouldn’t have been possible.
That being said, we need to be a little cautious here. When Adam was first created and placed in the Garden of Eden, the Lord said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18) What was true for Adam is still true for us today. Not just physically, but spiritually as well! Why does the Holy Spirit tell us NOT to give up meeting together, as he does in the passage printed above? It’s because we need one another’s physical presence in our lives as believers in Christ, as well as the presence of our Savior! That’s by God’s plan and design!
Through his death and resurrection Jesus did what was needed to forgive our sins and restore our broken relationship with God. But through the Christian family we’ve been made part of by our baptism, our Lord continues his saving work to help us remain strong and steadfast in our faith!
When we gather together for worship each week, relationships between us as brothers and sisters in Christ begin, and start to grow. This becomes a wonderful blessing. It’s a spiritual support group you might say, that Jesus builds into the very fabric of our lives, and which he works through for our good.
When we feel spiritually exhausted and don’t know if we can continue on, who keeps us going so we don’t give up the fight? Jesus does, through that brother and sister in Christ who physically walks beside us through those trials, and speaks words of encouragement to us. When we’re sick and forget the promises Jesus gives us in his word, or start to doubt whether those promises are really being carried out in our life, who keeps reminding and reassuring us of those promises, and maybe holds our hand or gives us a comforting hug? Jesus does, through those members of our Christian family who in love come to see us in the hospital, or bring a meal to us at our home. And when we don’t really feel like going to church to hear God’s word, who disciplines us and keeps us going for our spiritual benefit and good? Jesus does, through good Christian moms and dads who make us go, or friends in the congregation who call, wondering where we’ve been, and invite us back to worship!
Knowing the important role our Christian family is meant to play in our lives, I hope we will not grow comfortable with the present situation we find ourselves in as a congregation. Or even worse, believe internet worship is the way things should be done in the future! Let’s remember, the way we are currently trying to stay together is NOT normal! It’s a stop gap measure meant to get us through a tough time. We need one another’s physical presence in our Christian lives! So let’s all continue to pray to our Savior that we’ll be able to meet together again in worship real soon, which we need, and which Jesus desires!
Your brother and servant in Christ,
Pastor Paul Krentz