“And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another.”
[Hebrews 10:24-25 New Revised Standard Version]
I point out often that the most important experience that happens in a church building is worship.
The church facility is a tool for ministry, nothing more. No matter how many great programs it supports, how much social outreach it offers, it is from that gathering together each week that the ministry flows.
It is in worship where we are fed with the word and sacrament and are sent out into the world to make the name of Christ known to others by our words and by our deeds. That is why the author of Hebrews advises us to, “Hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. [v. 23]
Worship can make us an incredible witness. When you and I worship, we have no idea how we might be making a difference in the lives of others.
In the final verse of our Hebrews reading (see above), the words, “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some,” jumped out at me for obvious reasons.
When we do not neglect to meet together to gladly hear and learn the Word of God, we are promised in Word and Sacrament the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.
When we do not neglect to meet together to gladly hear and learn the Word of God, we are able to confess the truth about ourselves, that we are yet sinners in need of that faithful Redeemer who alone can deliver us from all the temptation, empty promises and twisted logic that the world has to offer.
When we do not neglect to meet together, we become bearers of the Word of God, free to do ministry in Jesus’ name and to the Glory of God without seeking self-glorification.
When we do not neglect to meet together to gladly hear and learn the Word of God, we hold fast to our confession of hope without wavering. Because when Christ made that single sacrifice for sin once and for all, He made it possible that we might be His own, live under Him in His kingdom, and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness.
A building may be destroyed, but the place where God dwells is not destroyed. “The place where God dwells” that was built in three days is the resurrected Jesus.
The things we humans build, no matter how grand, will perish; the things God builds, no matter how small, will endure, even to the end of the age.