Jump Start # 2867
Acts 2:1 “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.”
Our verse today describes the setting as the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles. Immediately after this, they speak in various tongues, preaching the saving message of Jesus Christ. People who had gathered from far away places each understood that message in their own language.
But the start of this takes place as the apostles were all together in one place. This is what the Lord told them to do. And, they had obeyed. There was an occasion earlier, when the Lord appeared after His resurrection and Thomas was missing. Rumors and reports were filling the air about the resurrected Jesus, but Thomas missed being there. Not this time. This time “they were all together in one place.”
From this simple statement, there are some thoughts that we need to share:
First, Sunday is a great time for the church to gather together in one place. Rarely is everyone all there. Someone is sick. Someone had to work. Someone was out of town. And some were simply missing. But when we are there, together, fellowship is a wonderful reminder that we are not alone in our journey with the Lord. It also reminds us that we have others who have been there and are just a few steps ahead of us and can help us.
I had a long phone conversation with such a person recently. A parent is in assisted living, with some serious medical and memory issues. It is obvious that the journey here will soon be ending. She called. She wanted to talk. She knew that I had been through a similar journey with my dad. It helps talking to someone who has gone through what we are going through. Being together and having a togetherness helps us.
Second, being together is such a rich and rewarding encouragement. We now understand this having come through this pandemic. Worshipping at home is just not the same. The singing isn’t the same. The feel isn’t the same. And, what’s missing are the smiles, hugs, tears, and joys we receive when we see each other. God intended for us to be together. Worshipping apart, worshipping alone is not the way God designed things.
Third, being together is a great reminder for all of us about our walk with the Lord. All around us are those who have suffered, been through valleys, fought their own giants, raised kids, lost jobs, struggled with stress and worry and yet here they are in one place. And, not just in one place, but in one piece. Scarred, weary, and showing the marks of battles, onward they go. This not only encourages and helps us, but it often shames us because our current battles seem like nothing compared to what they have been through. Around us are those who have buried mates, children, had family cut them off, but they keep marching with the Lord. We forget that when we are alone. We don’t see that when we are alone. But when we are all in one place, what great lessons are around us. Some of the best lessons are not from the pulpit but from the pews. Men and women who love the Lord. They have invited strangers to services. They have opened their homes to hospitality. They have taught the Bible wherever they could. Their love for the Lord is unstoppable.
Thomas wasn’t with the apostles when the Lord appeared. He doubted. The five foolish virgins weren’t with the others when the groom appeared. They were out looking for oil when the door was shut. They missed out. The prodigal’s brother wasn’t with the father when the prodigal came home. As he approached the house, he heard music and dancing and likely smelled the aroma of a feast. He wasn’t there to hear the prodigal’s sorrowful words. Instead, he got angy and refused to participate.
Being together is important. It strengthens our soul. It builds others up. It’s good and right.
Together in one place—couldn’t that be a description of Heaven?