I was so moved by this video that Joni and Friends ministry shared in their Thanksgiving newsletter that I wanted to share with my readers. This special video was created by the Reflectors ministry of Faith church in Dyer Indiana. It vividly shows us that Jesus truly is not only a good shepherd but that he also carried us on His cross to the banqueting table of the Lord. We must remember how precious our seating is and how special each family member around us and we give thanks!
Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you. Romans 16:15
It has been so very long since we have been in church. That last Sunday we were able to worship together the storm clouds of Corona virus had already begun to gather. There were many empty seats in the sanctuary and our greetings were careful and interspersed by the frequent use of hand sanitizer stations that suddenly dotted our lobby. No one knew that this would be the last time we would see one another outside of a computer screen or an occasional meeting in a driveway. Whether you normally greet one another with handshakes or hugs and kisses; we are all feeling the loss of being cut off from one another. Our longing to meet again face to face is a natural expression of the love of Christ and is reflected in Paul’s farewell chapter of the book of Romans.
It is astonishing how at the end of this long and highly doctrinal letter that the Apostle can greet by name dozens of people in a city to which he has never yet traveled. Whatever the practical explanation for that, it is a reflection of the heart of Jesus who the gospel says had compassion on the people because they were as sheep without a shepherd.
On the day of our return to church we must remember the special value there is in greeting one another, whether by a holy kiss or a socially safe elbow bump. Those missing faces in our lives are our brothers and sisters and how we will rejoice on the day when we can once more we can say hello again!
And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” Mark 11:17 ESV
The same man who forgave a woman caught in adultery and happily ate with sinners became angry when He went to the temple to pray. But Jesus shouted as he drove the buyers and sellers away saying indignantly, “Is it not written My House shall be called a house of prayer?” Now a case can be made that Jesus was upset because of where these vendors were set up; but more importantly was that when Jesus said the word “House” he also meant family. In other words when God’s family meets they should be identified as brothers and sisters who come together to pray. Of course it is easy for us 2,000 years later to be critical, but are we any better today? We have youth events, senior ministry and worship services but we are still first and foremost a family of prayer?
But if we maneuver our way into desirable positions or try to take unfair advantage of others we are putting ourselves right back at the money changer’s tables. Special events are great. Fellowship is important. But can we say that prayer was the main thing that happened at church last Sunday? Then also notice that Jesus went on to say that His family was supposed to be for all nations. Are nations are showing up at our places of worship? Jesus wants to clean His house of anything that keep us apart. Then when everyone brings their own inheritance into God’s family then together we can be the richest folks on the block! And when not one is missing we are also His family indeed!