In the last post I talked a little about the significance of the church meeting. This time I wanna focus more on the flip side and consider the broader aspects of church life. It is truly a wonderful thing to experience life together in the Body of Christ not once, not twice, but seven days a week!
Why? Because the church is more than a once-a-week get together.
Remember the song “More Than a Feeling” by Boston? Great song, but that’s beside the point. What I’m waiting for is someone to re-write the lyrics to that song (ahem, Andy) under the title “More Than a Meeting,” talking about the wonder of daily living in the Body of the Lord.
Church life, you see, is togetherness. It is sharing life together under the headship of Jesus Christ. It is not virtual or theoretical, it is practical, in-your-face familial community.
Even the first “meetings” of the church in Jerusalem could hardly be called meetings, at least not in any formal sense. What they appear to have been more than anything else was just a bunch of wide-eyed saints spending a lot of time together in their homes eating meals, singing songs, sharing prayers, and talking joyfully about their newfound experience with the Lord Jesus Christ.
A person may go to a meeting once a week, and it might be the best meeting this world has ever seen-full of life, love, and warm-hearted fellowship. But if that meeting alone represents the full extent of their participation in the local Body of Christ than they are still missing out on the majority of real church life. I’ve experienced the difference myself, and there really is no comparison. The writer to the Hebrews didn’t instruct the believers there to exhort one another “daily” for no reason, you know. Daily fellowship is not just a privilege but a necessity if we ever hope to go on unto the fullness of Christ.
However, I realize this may present a genuine difficulty for some people. “There is nothing like that anywhere in my town, and I don’t see how there ever could be!” you might say. Also, there is often the very real experience of “crossing the wilderness” when a person comes out of institutional Christianity-a positive time of isolation when the heart of that believer is being healed, a great many things are being unlearned, and Christ is being revealed within him or her in a very personal way.
None of this changes the purpose of God, though, and none of it changes the fact of our own spiritual instincts as believers, including our spiritual hunger for the church life. So no matter what difficulty you or I may be faced with, we have to take this before the Lord, travail before Him over it, and settle for nothing less than that the Lord might raise up a true expression of the church in our locality.
But, I digress.
Seriously, though, I love the meetings where we come together with the intention of singing, sharing, and ministering to one another. I say let’s do that all the more. But sometimes what I enjoy most about the church life is simply taking a walk with a brother, having some saints over to the house for dinner, or watching the kids for my wife so the sisters can go out together for coffee. These are the simple kinds of things that make Christ all the more real to me in the otherwise mundane aspects of life.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Shut down the meetings for a while and see how much time the saints still spend together. This will give you a pretty good idea of how much true church life is going on. If Christ is really our life and if indeed we are being built together as His House then we won’t be able to stay away from each other. This drawing together, this instinct for fellowship, is proof to the world that we are His, and it is proof of one other thing as well: The church is more than a meeting!