When we gather, on what grounds do we gather exactly?
Most often, we gather around a concept or an activity rather than a person — our Lord. We gather around what we have tagged "church service" and all the activities and programmes therein. We just get occupied doing church services. Fine, there are those who feel we must come out of church and find another way to fellowship. But then there is a question still to be asked. When those who come out of church and all its endless religious services fellowship, on what grounds do they too actually gather?
Too often we gather around the concept: how to do church. We gather around the concept house church, and we get so occupied doing it and trying to conform to it. Yes, it is mainly about our concepts — our ideals on kingdom community, the ekklesia, fellowship, etc. We are not different from the church people. We have fallen into the same trap. A true gathering of believers should be around Christ — the person. And not Christ — a concept. It has to be the living person. Concepts are dead and death can only produce death. The body of Christ is alive, and isn't it true that we are the body of this Christ? Can't you see, beloved? We are the body of a living person and not a concept! So how logical is it to gather around a person whose body we are?
Most often, our gathering comprises people of like minds. People who share the same concept with us — what Christianity is, how to do church, our definition of kingdom community and the ekklesia, etc. When you have this kind of people you definitely end up gathering around this shared concept.
To gather around Christ (the person), you must have a people who have come to know Him as a person, developed an intimate relationship with Him and consequently are full of living experiences in their walk with Him. Yes, when you find such a group of people, then it is possible to gather around Christ. For as they gather they would talk about this Christ they have given so much of their time to, the things that they did with Him, how His person has influenced them, and the beautiful moments they had shared with Him. Yes, the meeting becomes all about relationship. Not religion, not theology — not those lifeless and dead stuffs. The meeting becomes alive. Yes, alive! You virtually see life in the faces of the people. When you look at them, you find them talking about a living experience and not some concept in their heads. Some even burst into tears as they speak about this person they have come to know so intimately — this beautiful man, this man that goes about doing good. He is truly alive to them and He has filled their lives with His goodness. They can't stop talking about all the wonderful things they've experienced in their walk with Him.
And when the moments go sober, you find those who have had a greater walk with Christ encouraging others and telling them of His unfailing ways. They encourage one another in hard times, reminding all how good Christ is and how He never fails to show up and bring His own out of the pit and strengthen them more for the walk ahead with Him.
Beloved, you will notice what is going on here is not mere religion. This is no religion. This is bonding! These people are bonding. They have all come to know the same person and on that ground they meet and begin to bond. A strong relationship is being built; they are becoming a part of one another's lives because this person (Christ) has become their life. Everything is based on this person and not on some concept or ideology. He (Christ) is their bond. He is the ground on which they gather. He is their goal and pursuit. It is all about Christ, yes the person of Christ.
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