If all the temples do not house God, couldn’t we argue that Christianity is just one more system of temple building? What is the point of having a religious building, a cathedral or of wearing a cross around your neck? What is the point of our songs, our programs, and our speeches?
Would it not follow that we can live an independent life alone with God and not depend on other teachers or advisors? Surely, we can just google God and find what we need.
The writer in Hebrews says we should not give up gathering, even though some prefer to be alone. When each of us are deciding whether to gather or not we are inclined to think about whether we will get anything of value by doing so.
We are less likely to be thinking that we are needed by others or have something worthwhile to share. Church life is not primarily about systems and operations; it is about God’s presence with and in us. Every one of you are part of an interconnection. Whether you feel it or not, God’s life transfers through you to others. You receive God’s life as you let yourself open to others in whom the Spirit dwells.
If church life places no demand on you to give of yourself, it will quickly lose relevance. We need to value every person that gathers with us. They may have the salt that enhances the flavour of God in our midst. Another one may be the provocateur that inspires you to be gentle, patient or some other virtue. Someone will be an answer to someone’s prayer.
Emmanuel – God with us. The experience of knowing God is communal. Do not dismiss the value of knowing God through his people. We will need the desert island experience of being alone with God, the Bible, and a journal to write in. But that experience equips you to bring the life of God to others, not just to strengthen you alone.
Do you know what’s better than having a dozen donuts in your kitchen? Bring the donuts to people that you can share them with. You will feel much better than if you stay home alone and eat twelve donuts in a row.
Keep coming back and bring what you have. If you don’t have anything to give, come anyways. You will give something to others simply by acknowledging and appreciating them from your heart.