Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing but let us encourage one another as you see the Day approaching.
One of the great losses occasioned by the Covid lockdown has been our ability to meet together. Zoom, as we have proved time and again has been a great blessing but it is not the same a meeting face to face both individually and corporately.
It was a huge delight to be ‘live’ in the Church building last Sunday and to be setting off to do so again this morning but there is still some way to go before we are able to be all together Sunday by Sunday.
Many church leaders have expressed their concern that Zoom meetings will have lulled people into laziness and simplicity on a Sunday morning. It has been ‘good’ to chill out as it were with a cup of coffee, the freedom to wear or not wear what we like, and not to have to leave the house in order to join the morning or evening services.
However the section of our passage in bold this morning should make us sit up and take notice. The writer does not spell out why some people were failing to meet and in those days, that was to be totally absent from the body as there was no equivalent of Zoom! But he does indicate one of the many great blessings of meeting together, which is encouraging one another.
I don’t know about you but I am always encouraged when people walk through the church door for it tells me that they are eager to be a real physical part of the body. I am encouraged when we sing together – I am not a singer and when I do sing I am off key and it sounds terrible but when the body sing around me it drowns my very unmusical efforts and I am therefore encouraged by others! I am encouraged when the Preacher announces his passage for the day and I see the congregation open their Bibles to follow his preaching, and likewise I want to encourage others.
On the flip side I am discouraged when one or other members are not with us as we meet for we are a family, a body and all parts are vital and important to the functioning of the whole.
So I am challenged by this ‘Let us’ and I pray that you the reader will be also as we move from individual participation by Zoom to full corporate gathering once again.