Did You Ever Wonder... about the need for Church Community?
I have heard from time to time people expressing, "I don't need to come to church. I can pray on my own." While technically it is true that we can all pray on our own, the Bible is clear that part of our faith walk is supposed to involve worship together with our Brothers and Sisters in Christ.
First of all, worship is supposed to be something we do together as we praise God. If we are together, we get to praise God more loudly than we would on our own! Psalm 100 says:
"Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! …"
See all those ways of praise? That's because we're supposed to use all of what we have, and you get the distinct feeling from this Psalm that it can't be done individually. We do it together!
Worshipping in church is important because we know that we are not alone. It is especially important to do this when we are struggling so that we can seek encouragement and support from our Sisters and Brothers in Christ Jesus. The early church really understood this, as they were being persecuted and made to feel like they didn't belong. For them, the church was a refuge, the one place they knew they could come and celebrate the truth that they knew. Banding together was a show of strength in numbers, and that can be as true today as it was then.
Early Christians also understood the coming return of Christ. Now, they thought it was happening in their time, but this portion of the Letter to the Hebrews is as meaningful today as it was then:
"Do not neglect to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."
While we don't know for sure when the return is happening, we do know it will happen. As the world becomes more resistant to the message of Christ, it is all the more important that we worship together, reminding each other of the promises that Jesus has made. We are simply stronger together, and this is just some of the reasons why as a church, community worship is important.