The beauty of the Saints Assembled

Psalm 133:

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!
Like the precious oil upon the head,
Running down on the beard,
The beard of Aaron,
Running down on the edge of his garments.
Like the dew of Hermon,
Descending upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the Lord commanded the blessing—
Life forevermore.

It’s in the wee hours, and I wish I had the energy to say this with the lyricism that it deserves, but I would like to urge you, dear brother or sister, to consider the beauty of the saints assembled. How many times have you heard someone say that they can worship God better alone, out in the wilderness somewhere, surrounded by trees or enjoying some scenic vista? The reasoning usually goes that God created the wilderness and we can worship him by admiring His handiwork. If that’s you, I’d like to urge you to reconsider. You may have been catechized by 19th century romantics, rather than God’s word.

Go back to the scriptures. Do a survey, and tell me where, by instruction and by example, we are taught to find God’s presence. I’m sure you will find a prophet alone on a mountain or two, but overwhelmingly you will see people worshiping God together, in His temple, in the midst of the congregation. And where is His temple today? The saints assembled.

You say you don’t like church, you don’t care for crowds, the music annoys you, all preachers are more ignorant than you. I understand. No really, I do. I’ve had entire church movements turn to stale water in my mouth. I joined a church once and spent the next six months regretting it as the pastor preached up to the verge of heresy at least once a fortnight. Sometimes you don’t join for you. Sometimes you don’t get anything out of it. Sometimes, what God intends for you to get out of it is not the sort of thing you would have ever asked for. But life comes from the interconnectedness of the Body of Christ. You cannot be a Christian alone. You may find that you are like the appendix in the body of Christ – no one knows what you’re there for, and they’ll only let you stay if you don’t cause any trouble. Stay. Try not to cause any unnecessary trouble. If you’re hurting, ask for help. But remember: You cannot honestly say you love God if you can’t stand to be with the brethren.

Psalm 68:15-18

Mount Bashan is God’s towering mountain;
Mount Bashan is a mountain of many peaks.
Why gaze with envy, you mountain peaks,
at the mountain God desired for His dwelling?
The Lord will live there forever!
God’s chariots are tens of thousands,
thousands and thousands;
the Lord is among them in the sanctuary
as He was at Sinai.
You ascended to the heights, taking away captives;
You received gifts from people,
even from the rebellious,
so that the Lord God might live there.

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