Suppose – just suppose – for a few moments that you couldn’t worship in a gathering of Christ-followers anymore.
I don’t know why. War. Disaster. Takeover by a totalitarian foreign government. Imprisonment in an iron lung. Eighty-eight-dollar-a-gallon gasoline. Doesn’t matter. You can’t worship while gathered with Christians anymore. Just suppose.
What would that mean to you?
Would the quality of the singing or the sermons or the temperature of the worship center still be important to you? How about the paltry class offerings or the cold decor of the church or the ministry staff’s salary? Would the style of the worship or the hat of the lady who always sat in front of you or the fidgety teens in the back still ruffle your feathers?
Could the length and redundancy of the prayers still tick you off? Or the guy who parked across two spaces? Or the little children running among the old folks?
Would the teacher who had always hinted around at what you consider heresy and false doctrine still stoke your smoldering wrath?
How about the deacon who kept pestering you to teach, or help with benevolence, or take communion to shut-ins?
Or all the fundraising drive and charity event flyers that people kept tacking to the crowded bulletin board?
Or the broken step at the back of the church building that nobody ever bothered to fix?
Or the babies crying that parents were slow to remove to the nursery?
Would you be glad to be rid of the songs you don’t like?
Would you miss the cranky old people?
Would you miss Jesus?
Would you still worship alone, your way, the way you like, the way that speaks to you, the way God must like because He made you in His image and that’s the way you like it?
Would you like it better alone? Would you bother to worship at all?
What if you couldn’t?