Forsake Not Our Assembling Together! Really?
By Sam Nadler
In many places, this verse may be illegal. “…let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
God commanded assembling, for only in community can we love one another, and thereby demonstrate that we’re His disciples. In fact, the word “habit” in the above verse is used for Yeshua, who “went to Synagogue on Shabbat as was His habit” (Luke 4:16). So, our fellowship reveals His grace in community in Him. Yeshua commanded us three times “to love one another” (Jn 13:34; 15:12, 17). He puts it in the command form to reveal His priority for our lives.
But how can we “love one another” when we’re in mandated quarantine?
1) Wherever possible get together to pray in whatever size group is permitted. Yes, it’s still true, the family that prays together, stays together. “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Ps 122:6; Romans 10:1); “pray for people” (1 Timothy 2:1), including your neighbors. Pray for those who are ill, and for the many others who are afraid and lonely. Pray that our nation will repent of our many sins, and that there will be revival!
2) Stay in touch through conference calls, facetime, Skype, Zoom and FB chat. Have a Zoom bible study! When we gather remotely, it’s in His name that is most important, not our proximity. After all, too many share the same location without having godly affection. “So then, we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another” (Romans 14:19). “Pursue” means effort. It’s the effort to reach out that reveals God’s love that reached out to us in Messiah.
3) Livestream your congregation’s services and bible studies. Every Shabbat (Yeshua willing!) we will be livestreaming our 10:30 am services (www.hopeofisrael.info). And our congregation still has its weekday teachings and adult Shabbat school classes, both livestreamed and uploaded. Worship remotely, for as long as we are relying on Yeshua, it is still the Holy Spirit who empowers us to worship in Spirit and in truth, wherever we may be.
4) Share your devotions! Pray over the Scripture, study the verse, and write down your insights and applications. Don’t make it too long. Then email it to others in your faith community. For we are called to encourage one another in God’s word: “let the Word of the Messiah, in all its richness, live in you, as you teach and counsel each other in all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude to God in your hearts” (Colossians 3:16). Yes, and share worship songs with each other as well!
Faith is intentional, love takes the initiative, and maturity means consistency. So, let us intentionally grow together in Yeshua’s consistent grace and “be devoted to one another in mutual love” (Romans 12:10).