Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. ~ 1 Peter 1:3-4
On Tuesday, during a staff meeting, the senior pastor asked each of us to read aloud ten verses from John chapters 11 through 20. With each person’s voice, the words sprang from the pages of the Bible, invoking images of the Savior as He atoned for the sins of the world. It was humbling to fathom the awesome breadth of Jesus’ love.
During communion service, this Good Friday, I felt that same surge of awesomeness as I lifted my face mask to partake of the “bread and wine”. Jesus began the practice of communion. Communion is perhaps the most important and oldest celebration of the Christian church. For Easter is the time we give special praise for the resurrection of Jesus Christ who told His disciples to use bread and wine to remember the sacrifice He was going to make (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). So, to read an article that reports that fewer than half of American adults now belong to a house of worship was disheartening.
The Bible tells us to attend church so that we can worship God with other believers, be taught His Word, and grow spiritually. The early church was dedicated to the disciples’ teaching, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and prayer” (Acts 2:42). While the early church did not have a specific church building per se, each day worshipers continued to meet together in the temple courtyards or at each other’s homes (Acts 2:46). Regardless of the physical man-made building, believers delighted in fellowship with each other and enjoyed the teaching of God’s Word.
The church is the place where believers love “on” each other (1 John 4:12), encourage each other (Hebrews 3:13), inspire each other to love and to do good works (Hebrews 10:24), to serve each other (Galatians 5:13), instruct each other (Romans 15:14), honor each other (Romans 12:10), and be kind and compassionate to each other (Ephesians 4:32).
For Jesus is the Cornerstone of the church (1 Peter 2:6). 1 Peter 2.5 tells us that we are as living stones . . . being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual worship acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. As the building blocks of God’s spiritual house, we inherently have a connection with one another, and that relationship is evident every time—we the church—attend church.
Let us pray. . . Dear Heavenly Father, in Your Son Jesus name. We come before you today with a humble heart, full of hope, and thankful for Your love. If we did not know You, we could easily be discouraged. . . over the lack of church attendance. But as we consider who You are. . . we affirm that all is well. Because as Christians, we can speak to the mountains and even the mountains must obey our faith. On this day, we pray that the church returns to the church this Easter in numbers so miraculously that the world takes notice of Your amazing grace. Grace and mercy which provides peace for us in abundance this day and every day. Amen.
God bless. . . I am Wiley’s granddaughter.