Gather Us In
July, 3rd, 2016 will mark the beginning of our coming together to unify all our members from the two services we’ve held for the past several years. This is especially exciting because when we are unified as a fellowship it tends to generate more energy, and it fortifies our strength as a fellowship. No doubt we will experience more joy as we consolidate and join together our praises and worship of God and our appreciation for one another. There have been an increasing number of us who felt the need to merge our two services into one. During our open meeting for all members following the Church Council meeting on May 16th, all who were present were in favor to combine both services into one. Sharing our time of worship together in one worship service may prove to be more enriching.
One of the great practices of our spiritual walk is the physical assembling of the fellowship, to congregate, to come together, but more importantly, it is to know for what purpose we come together. We may all be aware that our Sunday morning gathering is about worship. But, the worshipping of God is not the only thing that is happening in these gatherings; our joining together is also about Christian communion under the one whom we serve and worship. If we aspire to follow the example of the early church, each time we met would be considered a Holy Communion – which is not only a matter of serving bread and wine, or the body and blood of Christ. Holy Communion, in a physical sense, is a “holy” coming together of Christian individuals to recognize that the Body of Christ is one and that Jesus Christ is the head of the Church. The body of Christ is the church – a living breathing organism where God has come to live and abide within her. The upward limit of her influence in the world is unknown because she, the church, is under the influence of the Spirit of God.
It is most vital that the church realizes that it is not along, that God’s presence is very much a part of her existence. When that awareness is heightened of God being with her as she bears witness to the truth that God is in fact love, and that it has never been His intent to destroy lives, but to infuse His life within human beings, then the true character of God will become more apparent as it releases in the hearts of people. I am convinced that we underestimate the power of the fellowship to wield such influence in broken lives. Lives can be powerfully touched even with a few who gather to serve God. Each additional person who comes to the fellowship brings with him or her added influence to the body because God is abiding within each heart, and each person brings a uniqueness of his or her gifts to be shared and dispensed within the body and wherever one is sent to bring God’s compassion and grace to people.
The fellowship is like a nursery for those who are newly introduced to the Christian faith and way of life. Often the fellowship consists of Christians who are well seasoned and learned, and have served in leadership roles as teachers, lay leaders, council members, and directors of various organizations in the church and with mission projects. The Scripture makes clear that every person who has come into the faith has been granted a gift or gifts from God that could add to the vital function of the Church. But, gifts given to the church must be understood, and should be put into practice so all may benefit and be bless by their virtues. No one person can possess all the gifts that God dispenses, as a consequence, this makes us interdependent on one another and with God.
We miss so much when we abstain from one another. Isolation dissipates and diffuses our influence as a Church. But, as we rally together as a unifying body to bring God’s peace into the world, it really does have an attraction for those in the fellowship and for those in the world. Therefore we pray: “Lord, gather us in, call us now, and we shall awaken, we shall arise at the sound of our name. Give us a heart of meekness and give us the courage to enter your will. Nourish us well, and teach us to fashion lives that are holy and hearts that are true. Gather us in – calling all persons together, the fire of love in our flesh and our bone. Amen (Words in prayer adapted and adopted from “Gather Us In” by Marty Haugen).