Returning to public worship after 14 weeks apart has forced me to reflect anew on the joys of the local church. Perhaps for that reason I especially enjoyed this quote from Gunner Gundersen’s booklet What If I Don’t Feel Like Going to Church? in which he says “the gathering of the saints is like fresh rain sent by God to strengthen his people.” I’ll let him explain.
At all times and in all places, the gathering of the saints is like fresh rain sent by God to strengthen his people. Christians gather to worship not because it might be helpful if all the stars align; or if our leaders plan the service just right; or if everyone smiles at us with the perfect degree of sincerity, handles the small talk seamlessly, and engages us with just the right depth of conversation.
We don’t gather to be cool, because we’re not. We don’t gather because there are just enough people our age, because that’s not the point. We don’t gather because we’re safe, because in many places around the world, we’re not. We don’t gather because it’s easy or convenient, because we don’t follow a Saviour who carried a pillow but a cross.
Instead we gather because we’re saved. We gather because we’re forgiven. We gather because we are one. We gather because we’re redeemed, reborn, and commissioned to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. We gather because the God we’re worshiping has instituted our gathering as the main way he matures and trains and comforts us. It’s not just when the songs or prayers or sermons touch our souls right where we need to be touched. We meet because God builds up his people through our meeting every time, in every place, without fail, no matter how we feel. Like rain in the fields, it’s how our gatherings work.