It was early in the morning, as our bus entered New York City, on our way to Brooklyn Tabernacle Church for their weekly Tuesday night Prayer meeting that drew thousands from all over the city. I awakened just in time to see the magnificent twin towers rising to my left. I immediately grabbed my camera and took a picture that I would soon come to treasure for the ages.
The date was September 4th, 2001, just one week before our weekly prayer meeting at High Mill Church was about to begin. The prayer meeting that night took on a whole different meaning as the Tabernacle leadership had us stand and then prayed for us that the Holy Spirit would use our weekly gathering to bring healing and revival to our city and churches. Little did I realize how important those prayers would be as we gathered, one week later on September 11th to seek God for our country in the midst of falling towers, death, and broken hearts.
I will never forget church that sorrowful night. It was filled to capacity. People that hadn’t come to church for sometime, as well as occasional attendees, filled the sanctuary. Emotionally, there was hardly a dry eye and no one seemed to be embarrassed of outwardly expressing their grief. Simply, we were a family which gathered together, clinging to one another, and crying out together for God’s mercy and love. In short, we were what the church was always meant to be–a community where broken people could find solace in relationship with their brothers and sisters; a place where the mandate, message, and meaning of Christ’s love could be nurtured and sent out to a hurting world that needs hope and truth.
Recently, I have talked with more and more people who are asking the question, “So why do I have to attend church to be a Christian? I have church in my home, isn’t that good enough? I can do the faith thing by myself. Why do I have to bother with others? God doesn’t dwell in buildings, so why should I attend?” While each of these statements contain some truth, because yes, you don’t have to attend church to be a Christian, you can worship at home, and you don’t need others to have a relationship with Jesus, yet have you consulted the ONE who birthed the church– namely Jesus Christ, about your arguments and opinion?
The writer in Hebrews 10:25 presented a real challenge to his readers.” Let us not stay away from Church meetings . Some people are doing this all the time. Comfort each other as you see the day of His return coming near.” (NLB) Benjamin Franklyn, at the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, in July 1776, uttered these famous words. ” We must all hang together or most assuredly, we will all hang separately.” Of course, he was referring to the signers of the Declaration, as well as the colonists, and their need to rely upon and trust one another in community and loyalty and not living solitary lives.
Romans 1 tells us that there will be a day, before His return when everything is going to be in chaos. That which has been right will be looked upon as wrong and that which is morally wrong will be deemed as right. Look around us and see. When late night talk show hosts like Bill Marr and Stephen Colbert can use their air time to spew the most vile and sickening display of arrogance and sexual incivility without the networks challenging their words, it becomes obvious that we have lost our moral compass–like the Greek and Roman world in Jesus’ time. Do you remember the “I Love Lucy” show of the early 1950’s when Lucy was about to have little Ricky, and the show writers would not allow the cast to use the word”pregnant”? My have times changed! Also, no longer are free speech and diversity of thought tolerated on college campuses. There is little difference today between those bastions of so called learning and free speech than Nazi thugs that took over German campuses in the mid 1930’s. We see crazy laws being scripted in the name of equality which are no more than attempts to silence free speech. I could list hundreds, but a recent one caught my attention. There is now a proposal pending in some court that would make it illegal to clap at sporting events, because it is offensive to those who are deaf.” The times , they are a-changin.”
So why do I need church in my life? Simply because, right now we don’t really need one another as much as we are soon going to. On September 11th 2001, churches across America were jammed, not for any other reason than we were desperate! In much of the world today, the church is under siege, and without the power of Christian Community, many would die. Tribulation has sculpted the Church into being THE CHURCH.
I ask–” What are you waiting for? What will it take to make you realize that we are in this TOGETHER? Spiritual Crisis is gripping the world! Will it take the next tragedy to motivate you to action? Do you realize that you are needed to bring your gifts to the table, so to speak? Heed the Words of Jesus and understand that true Holy Ghost Strength is not found in the” I can do it alone approach” , “But where two or more are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them!” (Matthew 18:20). Let me challenge you with one more thought; We don’t have time to waste, BECAUSE HE’S COMING BACK!