“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God.” – Colossians 3:16
Like a branch that grows because of its connection to the tree, we thrive when we stay connected to the church.https://www.crossway.org/articles/why-the-church-is-vitally-important-for-every-christian/
As Christians, our lives surround the church, and the church surrounds our lives. The church is the gathering hub for believers to come and be edified, admonished, corrected, forgiven, strengthened, encouraged, and taught the wisdom of God. The church is a place of sanctuary where the evils of the wicked world are shunned, and the light and goodness of Christ fills the room. As Christians, it is our place of rest, but also our place of sustenance, the food and drink of heaven.
As sheep who gather before the trough and in the safety of the pen, God’s children must continually gather within the safety of the gate and receive from our Lord’s hand His gifts of Word and Sacrament. When we choose to disconnect ourselves from the church, we are disconnecting ourselves from Christ.
Consider, for example, the Old Testament tabernacle. It traveled with the people from place to place, and it was setup in the midst of the people for worship and prayer. The great temple of Solomon was the highest building in Jerusalem so everyone could look up and see the presence of the Lord within it and above it. During medieval times, churches and cathedrals were built as the highest buildings in the city so that believers could look up and see the cross and find rest wherever they were.
Today, however, the devil has filled our time and our days, not with the church, not with prayer or the creeds, not with gaining wisdom and understanding, but with so very many distractions. From childhood we are inundated with activities and events, with some worldly thing that everyone says is important, but which also takes us away from God and His church. Church pews are empty, where once they were full. Churches are being torn down or repurposed where once they were sacred places of reverent worship and prayer, of hymn singing and consoling, of repentance and forgiveness.
But inasmuch as every Christian must remain steadfast in Christ, so too must every Christian remain steadfast in Christ’s church. It is the Lord’s will and purpose of the church that His people gather there and be as one body, in unity, abiding in one head, Christ Jesus and His Word, believing the same, worshiping together, praying together, feasting together, and preparing for eternal life together. When Christ saved us, He also connected us to His church because the church is His body.
Thus, the church must provide spaces and places and times for people to gather together, to pray, to praise, and to give thanks. Every church should have Bible Studies throughout the week, and members should attend these Bible Studies. Every church should have weekday prayer services and gathering opportunities and members should attend.
Christians’ minds, hearts, words, and actions should daily be occupied with the church and with Christ the Lord of the church. There should never be a time in the life of a Christian where he cannot look up and see his church, clergy, fellow members, the chancel, altar, and pulpit, the font, and hear in his mind the faithful hymns and music. For if he does not surround himself with the things of Christ and His church, he will certainly surround himself with the things of the world and the devil, and the devil smiles at Christians who disconnect themselves from the Christian life.
Heavenly Father, help me to remain steadfast in Your Word and in Your holy church and keep me from becoming disconnected, distracted, or separated from the Christian life, in Your Son’s name, Amen.