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.
It was the fifth or sixth blizzard warning we had this winter. As I made my way to church, I had to plow through several drifts that were partially blocking the street. Settled in my office, I listened to the wind howling outside. At times the view from my window was completely obscured. I heard the snowblower laboring to clear the drifts from the sidewalks. Cold and partially dusted with snow, he came in to inform me that there was a no travel warning for our area. Should we cancel church?
I have always found cancelling worship as a very difficult decision. There are always those who would make the effort to come, but there are many more who would not and should not. After conversing with one of our leaders, we made the choice, we would cancel the services for the day.
I climbed into my car for the short drive back home. Looking to the north all I could see was a solid cloud of white. The main roads in town were fairly clear, but as I entered my neighborhood it was different. The drifts that I had pushed through on my way to church had grown. Twice the car labored to get through, sliding as I turned a slight corner. The wind howled clear into the afternoon.
As I begin a new week of preparation, I feel that there is something missing. There is a hole in my week, a vacant spot that should have been filled with praise and worship. I believe we made the correct decision to cancel the services, but I am left with a hollow feeling.
The writer to the Hebrews strongly encourages us to not take our corporate times of worship for granted. Yet, too often, we do exactly that. Sunday worship becomes just a part of our routine. Or it becomes an optional activity to fill an hour on Sunday morning, if we don’t have something more interesting to do.
When I miss Sunday worship, I feel a sense of loss. Something is missing in my life. It is like missing a meal. I will survive, but I definitely feel it. Spending time daily in the study of God’s Word is a regular part of my life. Being faithful to a daily time of personal devotion is an essential part of my walk with Christ. But there is something different about meeting with others in a time of corporate worship. There is a power and energy present that is different from my “alone times” with God. It reminds me that I am a part of something bigger than myself. It reinforces the reality that I am but one part of the larger body of Christ. It is a source of both encouragement and challenge. It reminds me that the Christian life is not a solo affair, that I need others in my life.
God understands the realities of a North Dakota blizzard. He is not upset that we cancelled worship on Sunday. But for me, there is still a hole in my week, and I look forward, with even greater anticipation, to next Sunday.
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 toward 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--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.