The past year has pushed everyone to experience a different lifestyle of working from home, leaving aside the hassles of getting ready on time and travelling a long way in traffic. Initially, people found it difficult because of their lifelong habit of coming to office. Many faced difficulties because of the lack of amenities such as workspace and network connectivity. Later, their offices provided them with all the necessary equipment and even conducted online motivational sessions to cope with the situation around them. People who have a good atmosphere at home found it beneficial but many underwent a tumultuous period of family feuds. People who have the potential to tackle things found it as a boon, while those who lacked proficiency missed the encouragements of their colleagues. While few of them learned from google and helped themselves in professional, housekeeping and culinary aspects, many are still struggling to adapt to this changing world.
Worship From Home
While the corporate sector introduced the work from home culture, churches introduced the worship from home concept. Believers found this new notion difficult because of their lifelong practice of meeting one another in the confines of a church. The perception with many is that they are not able to commune with God from their homes. This culture of worship from home should have been a regular feature in a believer’s life but it has now come to light that the physical gatherings, the spacious auditoriums, an ambience of holiness, and pastors carrying forward the prayers, impeded the believers from having a personal connect with God in their homes. This emptiness leads the believers to feel helpless as they eagerly wait for the physical gatherings to start again.
When our work from home generation was able to adapt to their circumstances while working from home, why are we not able to connect with God who is fond of people worshipping Him in spirit? When Elijah felt that he was all alone, God assured him of another group of seven thousand people who were spared from the evil of this world. Even today, a multitude of people are worshipping God in their spirit wherever they are.
Some are extremely comfortable with the new norm as it means they don’t have to connect with God and have escaped from the hassle of getting up early on Sundays, getting their children ready and drive to church. Aware of this trend, the author of the book of Hebrews insisted that people should not leave the habit of meeting together.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another —and all the more as you see the Day approaching.Hebrews 10:24-25
Why Meet Together
The author of the book of Hebrews asked even those who were rooted in Christ to often meet together. They have a constant relationship with their Creator, the assurance of the forgiveness of their sins through faith, and do not even have a guilty conscience yet the writer of Hebrews urges them to meet together to profess the truth that the one who promised them eternal life is faithful (Hebrews 10:19-25).
Church gathering is a replica of the assembly of saints in His kingdom, where they unceasingly praise His worthiness. The book of Hebrews asks us to meet together to encourage one another toward love and good deed. Unfortunately, people discourage one another through their testimonies about their worldly blessings with the intent of making others feel unworthy. The Bible tells us to accept the one who is weak in faith, without quarrelling over trivial matters (Romans 14:1). On the contrary, we pick a quarrel against one another on petty issues (Galatians 5:15). If we meet together as people of God, these unwanted things will not occur in the churches. Are we meeting together as people of God or as instruments of the devil?
Churches are not happy about the concept of worship from home, fearing that their sheep would graze in some other pastures. Elders think that while people worship their God from home, they would not give due allegiance to God, doing something else. Perhaps, this can even happen while people physically sit in the pews and when their minds wander elsewhere. Wherever we are, unless and until we learn to unite our hearts with God, both coming together or worshipping from home will go waste.
Advantages of Meeting Together
While the people of God met together, the love of God rushed out like water gushing out through the open flood gates. It flows like a river giving life to all who dwell at its banks (Ezekiel 47:1-12). The anointing on the people of God will flow into the neighbouring hearts, as God changes their hearts to receive His love. When God anointed Saul, the Bible says that God changed his heart, and as a result, when he came near the procession of the prophets, their anointing came upon Saul, and he prophesied (1 Samuel 10:9-10). Our God is the God of our cities. If we come together in one accord, the anointing on us will flow into the hearts of the people of our cities, resulting in a great revival. The Bible says that when God’s people live together, the anointing of God will descend upon their surrounding areas, like the morning dew falling on the plants and grass.
It is as if the dew of Hermon
were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.
In the togetherness of God’s people, no harm will overtake them. Once, there was a famine in the land, and the company of prophets came to meet Elisha. Elisha ordered his servant to feed them, as he collected some herbs and prepared the porridge. But when served, they realized that there was death in the pot, and they were not able to eat. Because of their togetherness, God gave them the power to discern the harm. When people came against Moses in the wilderness for not providing them meat, they ate when it was given to them, not knowing that death was waiting for them. When we love God in our hearts, we will not blame anyone for the untoward situations, but we look up to Him. Are we firmly standing together against the schemes of the devil? As a church, are we surviving during calamities or succumbing to them?
David did not want to make his own dwelling place a sanctuary of God but wanted to build a temple for a God whose throne is in heaven, and the footstool is the earth (Isaiah 66:1). Unknowingly, David was limiting the power of the Sovereign God to a specific place. God sent His Son to make the people feel His presence everywhere and tore the curtains of the Most Holy Place of the temple. Jesus walked in the dusty streets of Galilee, and God made people understand His omnipotence by performing signs and wonders. Jesus came to reconcile us with God, who is present everywhere to forgive and save every human. Earlier, the gentiles met together to worship God as gentiles, and no one else dared join them, but they regarded the followers of Jesus (Acts 5:13). Unfortunately, the followers of Jesus were named as Christians and people think that Christianity came into existence only two thousand years ago. Furthermore, everyone mistakes that Jesus is the God of Christians, and they start rejecting Christians and their faith, though they are also one among them. Most of us are unaware that religion devices divisions, and we feel proud of our religion.
We come into His presence for one hour on Sunday to meet our friends and to feel secure for the rest of the week. It means we seek His grace to dwell among the wicked, and we do not want to stay in His presence. David longed to dwell in His presence rather than elsewhere (Psalm 84:10) and hated the people who did not obey God (Psalm 119:158). Unlike David, we honour the people who disobey God. Church gathering is about the people of God meeting together to thank God who delivered them from their sin. Unfortunately, we are gathering to meet one another on the pretext of seeking His presence. Meeting one another in the church premises gives us satisfaction, and we feel bad even feel horrid when we do not meet one another. We think that we have fulfilled a commandment by attending a Sunday Service. Why should we meet our God only on Sundays, when He is waiting for us all the time.
We know that nothing can separate us from His love other than our preoccupied mental state. Wherever we are, let us experience that worship from home cannot separate us from His love. While worshipping God from home, we should come near Him so that He too will come near us. The church is not a building or any structure but a place where people of God rejoice in the presence of God surrounded by the saints. Even when we do not gather physically as a church, we should understand that our body is His church, and we should train ourselves to worship Him. Worship is not only about singing His praises but obeying Him in all walks of our lives. While we do so, we join with the innumerable number of believers, whom we do not know personally, but come together with them to worship our Sovereign God. If we train ourselves to connect with Him from our homes, then one day, we will be standing among all the saints saved by His grace, worshipping our Redeemer.
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.1 Corinthians 3:16-17