Famed singer-songwriter Jack Johnson waxed lyrical with the following words:
Love is the answer, at least for most of the questions in my heart:
Like why are we here? And where do we go?
And how come it’s so hard?
It’s not always easy and sometimes life can be deceiving.
I’ll tell you one thing: It’s always better when we’re together.
I am not sure whether or not the church was on Johnson’s mind when he penned these words, but I can say with absolute certainty that it was on Paul’s mind when wrote to the believers in Rome. We see this in his exhortation to the church in Romans 12:4–6:
For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them.
Paul understood the church. He knew that the Romans, though many individual members, were better together.
They were better together for service. Paul’s earlier reminder is equally important for us today: We must present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is our reasonable service (vv. 1–2). We are better when we are together because of our service to one another: building one another up in the faith; loving one another in the truth. COVID, to a large extent, has prevented us from doing this. But from midnight on 21 September, BBC will be slowly transitioning to the “new normal.” I don’t know what that will look like but I am sure that, because we are in Christ, gathering together, albeit restricted, affords us the opportunity to serve one another. Your attendance in the mornings and evenings is service to your fellow church member. Your phone calls are a service to your brother and sister in the faith. You remembering a birthday is serving and encouraging to others (It certainly is for me!) Your prayers for the saints are serving one another. Because we are one body, this is best accomplished when we are together.
They were better together for sanctification. My interaction with those who have attended services in recent weeks has resounded with one common theme: It is better when we are together. Not one person I have spoken to has said they prefer sitting at home. Providentially, some may be hindered from formal gathering for a number of reasons and we ought to be in much prayer for them. But there is something familial with being a part of the ekklesia (called out assembly). A phone call can give you a sense of how someone is doing, but looking into someone’s eyes and seeing the joy and excitement, or the pain and suffering, is more often than not a better experience—and is best experienced together. A loving embrace is something Zoom cannot afford us in time of need. Church, it is better when we are together.
Since the fall, we default to living individualistically and separated from God’s laws. We are prone to wonder into self-isolation and self-reliance. Thankfully, God graciously does not leave us there. The fall set in motion his salvific plan to redeem the lost through the work and person of Christ. This is good news. It is good news for believers in Christ but equally good news for a dark world tainted with sin and in much need of the gospel light. BBC, we are a testament to these gospel truths. As we hear the word proclaimed week in and week out, and as we seek to grow in holiness and live our lives pleasing to him, I pray that we will be a city on a hill that shines bright the hope of salvation in Christ Jesus. Church, let’s be better because we are together. Together for one another. Together for the gospel.