Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. (KJV 1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Can you remember the days when we used to get together with family and friends, comforting each other during the hard times and edifying (building up) one another? Can you remember the days when people weren't afraid to get close to you because you had germs that might pass onto them? Can you remember the days of hugs and kisses and those visits to loved ones in nursing homes or the hospital?
In our country and around the world, things are heating up and that heat is not a warm, comforting feeling. Two years ago, we were all shocked to hear that a lab grown virus had been let loose and people were dying as a result. Then, the inevitable happened. People were told that they must stay away from other people. Businesses were forced to close and churches were told that they had to close their doors.
Let me say that again - CHURCHES WERE TOLD THAT THEY HAD TO CLOSE THEIR DOORS!
So when is it ever okay to tell the Church that she must shut down and forbid the gathering together of which the Bible speaks? The verse referenced above says to comfort one another and edify one another. That meant, and means, gathering together. In another verse, we are told to not forsake "the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." (KJV Hebrews 10:25)
God actually wants us to get together. It's good for us. It's good for others. Here's why:
When we gather together, we encourage one another - edifying
When we gather together, we are stronger - "A cord of three strands is not easily broken" (CSB Ecclesiastes 4:12)
When we gather together, we are healthier in Spirit and sometimes in physical health - we are comforting one another and that makes us stronger and healthier in our faith. Part of the reason that so many people died in nursing homes during the last two years is because they had lost hope. It's not enough to have someone wave to you from behind a window pane, or on a video chat, or any other form of "interaction". We crave physical comfort in the form of a hug, a kiss, a snuggle. It's the way God made us. When God made Adam and Eve, He didn't tell Adam that he could wave to Eve from six feet or more whenever he felt that he needed company. Instead, God said that "it is not good for the man to be alone". (NIV Genesis 2:18) He told Adam that Eve was God's gift to him and that together, they should have children and multiply. Hmmmm. You need physical contact for that.
I could go on and one, but I think you get the picture.
Life needs to go on and we need to get out and among the living. If we don't, who is going to be found faithful, going about the Master's business until He returns? (See Luke 19)
The Master's business is to preach the Gospel (the Great Commission) unto the ends of the earth. That's going to require that we tell as many people as we can about Jesus, about HIs saving grace. People need to get saved. People need to know that there's hope (and it's not in this dying world). People need to know about - gasp - the Book of Revelation. The day is approaching (we don't know when but we sure can discern the signs of the soon return of Christ, birth pangs if you will).
Are you ready? Are your loved ones ready? Are those that the Holy Spirit has put upon your heart ready?
Let me encourage you to live in freedom. The apostle Paul said, "To live is Christ and to die is gain." (NIV Philippians 1:21) We need to stop living in fear of losing this life and really live in Christ. It means risk, but we have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Disclaimer: I am in no way saying that people should go out and spread disease if they are sick. Also, they might need to isolate for a time because of serious conditions. What I AM saying is that we need to dispel fear. For fear is a form of enslavement. And how is that any way to live?