24 And let us consider each other carefully for the purpose of sparking love and good deeds. 25 Don’t stop meeting together with other believers, which some people have gotten into the habit of doing. Instead, encourage each other, especially as you see the day drawing near.
I attended a church that had an annual “Party in the Park” celebration. It was a city church, so they met at the local park for a huge picnic after the service. After eating, it was time for the children to toast marsh-mallows and make s’mores. The grill that had cooked the hotdogs was hot with glowing coals surrounded by ash.
A Sunday school teacher took the tongs and removed one glowing coal from the red hot pile of coals, over to the side of the grill where it sat alone. “Wait and see what happens,” she said. As the children watched, the lone coal lost its glow and died out. “Did you see what happened? When the lone coal left the group it lost it’s fire. Now it can’t radiate heat or light, or spark a new fire. When you stop coming to church and serving God, you’re like the lone coal. Your glow eventually goes out.”
The pandemic has really challenged people of faith to hold onto their glow. Out of an abundance of love for each other, we aren’t gathering indoors to worship. It’s hard. But we still “go” to church. We are incredibly blessed to be able to gather virtually for worship. We also have new opportunities to reach people outside our church’s four walls. We have zoom Bible studies, children and youth activities, calls to participate in mission and ministry, and so much more. As children of God the more we gather together, whether in worship or serving, the brighter we glow. But, if we want to maintain our glow, we need to stay connected to the fire.
The source of this fire is the divine love of God. Our church community is illuminated by the love of God who sets our hearts on fire to love each other and do good deeds. The Holy Spirit works within us and through us to be Christ to each other and the world. We can look at the new opportunities that God has placed in our hands and find new ways to follow Jesus. And no, it’s not the same. But God has stirred us up, so our coals don’t fade out, and we in turn are reignite each other. So let’s encourage each other to gather in God’s name, spark love and serve our God.
By Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
Do you feel like you’re losing your glow? What other ways can you plug into your church community? You can be an encourager. Who can you encourage that may need to reconnect with our church community?
Prayer: Holy God, set our hearts on fire with your love, and open our minds to new opportunities, so that we can serve you and love and encourage each other. Amen.