Since this season of Lent prompts us and challenges us to conduct self-examination and spiritual reflections, I had to admit to myself that I never realized how important it is to my spirit to have the freedom and ability to congregate with my church folk. Although we constantly remind ourselves that “I am the Church,” and that “the Church is within my spirit,” we are more energized when in congregation and I must say, I cannot wait to bring the Good News to the people. Because I have not been able to greet my church folk with open arm hugs, give them air kisses, or eat brownies with the children, my spirit is suffering because it longs to be in assembly.
The need to be in faithful gathering means more than just going to the church house. The “church” is an assembly of believers; it is a testifying body of the faithful that unite in Jesus Christ, who has called His followers to gather unto Him. The church gives us a strong identity and sense of belonging. It is a living entity. The Gospel of John, Chapter 20, tells us that Jesus, after His resurrection, appeared to His disciples as they were gathered together in assembly. Christ gave all who were there, the gift of the Holy Spirit. Those assembled became the body of Christ. This is where the power lies, in fellow shipping together, and to forsake it is damaging.
There are some that are beginning to feel as if they “get their word” in other ways, it is no longer important to them to be gathered in assembly. We cannot forget that Christ called us to assemble in order that the Body might function as one. The Assembly is where we gather to proclaim the victory of the Cross through worship and praise. To commune with others in the atmosphere of church gives life and I, for one, can’t wait to be in the presence of everyone again!
Rev. Dr. Doris Barron-Shell