An octogenarian friend who has had great influence on my husband and me, and hundreds of others, in and since college, has cancer. He has been widowed over 20 years, and spends every day sharing the love and truth of Jesus. We hurt because he hurts.
I received this message as we await news on his chemotherapy regimen. “This morning Daryl asked me to join him for a Bible study at his church. It was a special time as I saw his church family here [California] encourage and pray for him and each other as they studied God’s word together. What a privilege it is to be bound to so many circles of believers through his ministry among us!” How wondrous is the Body of Christ! Across the country, and world, we are united in the Body by the Spirit, in prayer and concern for our beloved brother.
And in our own cities and communities, we gather together as did the early church, “devoted to teaching and fellowship, the breaking of bread and prayer. All who believed were together…attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes.” (Acts 2:42,44,46) In Revelation 2 and 3, in his letters to the seven churches, John gives different aspects of the Body of Christ, His living church. It is a wellspring of works of love, faith, service, and patient endurance. In the church we learn discernment, undergo testing and tribulation that yields faithfulness, and are spurred on to hold fast to Jesus’s name, keep His word, and not deny our faith. It is in the Body we are loved, reproved, disciplined by God to repent, be zealous, and not lose heart. As members of His Body we can together heed His charge to hold fast, endure, and conquer!
Lord, thank You for the Body of Christ, and for the privilege of being a part of its unique, organic fellowship. As recipients of Your manifold blessings, may Your Body “hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering. Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another.” (Hebrews 10:23-25) Amen and amen.