Why it is imperative to gather for worship in person. In person.

Congregation at worship. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Gathering in person is critical for the body of Christ.

Just in case the Holy Spirit’s directions to us to gather together is insufficient support for that comment, Karl Vaters provides a few more reasons in his 11/18/21 article:

Being The Church’s Isn’t Enough: 11 Reasons We Also Need To Go.

Recently came across his twitter post linking back to that article. His discussion was healing.

I heartily encourage you to read the full article. I will merely quote his key statements. Please read his explanation of each point.

As you read this post and his article, please remember those religious leaders who bowed to the Emperor. 

Forgive, but never forget, those who used scissors to cut Acts 5:30 out of their Bible: “We must obey God rather than man!” and then proceeded to willfully bend the knee.

Karl Vators’ 11 reasons:

To obey God’s commands to gather.

To worship God together.

To connect with a local body.

To serve the body of Christ.

To grow in faith.

To regulate my life rhythms.

To stay grounded spiritually.

To de-individualize my faith.

To practice Sabbath.

To honor the persecuted church.

To find healing from church-inflicted wounds.

Please read the full article.

Some of those I had not thought about.

A few those strike deeply. For example, a regular, once-a-week time of worship, Holy Communion, Bible study, and fellowship on Sunday creates a calming rhythm in the turmoil and tumult of the pandemic.

You cannot fellowship in a zoom meeting of 50 or 200 people.

I led a small online bible study during the pandemic. In a very small, pre-existing group with attendance usually in the 4 to 8 range, fellowship is possible on-line. Way beyond that, say 20 or 30, fellowship won’t work.

Claiming we could share fellowship via comments in a live feed is laughably silly.

It is doctrinally and theologically scandalous to commune online.

Yes, I have read the rationalizations that grabbing some orange juice and a muffin from the ‘frig with dad repeating the words of institution constitutes communion. Those are merely rationalizations and lousy ones at that. (You know how auditors rephrase rationalize? Rational lies.)

De-individualize my faith. Ouch. That one hits home. We Westerners, and even more so Americans, make faith individualized, tailoring it to fit ME. 

Being part of a corporate worship undercuts our tendencies to individualize faith. To personalize that point, corporate worship pushes me to get outside of myself.

Healing. Pastor Vators says he has been hurt by a church and it was at a different church where he found healing.

Healing. If you worship in a church where leadership bent the knee to Caesar, finding a place that values in-person worship and values fellowship will help you recover.

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