Do you Facebook?
I do. Too much. But what fun it is. I have gotten in touch with some friends I have known as far back as elementary school. I'm friends with people I used to see weekly and now not so much. Both good friends and casual friends. I love seeing that little box on the bottom of my screen that tells me which of my friends are actively on-line. I have only chatted a couple of times, but I get such a kick out of just seeing that we are surfing together. I would much prefer to hang out or have lunch or visit over tea, but that is too often not even an option.
And then there is the whole blogging thing. Don't we all just love comments: evidence that we are being heard? We visit each other's blogs like we are stopping over at a friend's. We chat about our kids and how we made this fabulous dinner. We give each other helpful hints. We delight in the little peeks into each other's lives and homes. It's like our own little neighborhood.
The other night at Bible Study, Beth was going on about something unrelated to where I am headed and read a verse that just stopped me. It was Hebrews 10:23-25. Here it is:
23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
I have read these verses before, but the last one in particular meant something different this time.
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - all the more as you see the Day approaching.
What is "the Day"? If you read that passages in some other translations, you won't need an explanation. It is translated the way Paul intended it: the day of His return. That "His" would be Jesus. (He is coming for us, you know!)
The verse is encouraging us to do is something that I believe many of us are already feeling the urge to do - gather together. We seem to have a new feeling to get back in touch with others. To be close in all the ways we can.
Not that I haven't always tried to keep up with some people. We exchange Christmas cards and get together at reunions and special events. But now we have the opportunity to "meet" in ways that were not until recently an option. I think it is very timely.
I don't know what your thoughts on the End Times and the eminence of Jesus' return for us are. Whether you think He is coming soon or not in our lifetime, we are still in the End Times. Everything between when He was here the first time and when He comes for His flock is considered the End Times. We have been living in the End Times for 2,000 years. I do happen to be one of the many who believe that He can't leave us here much longer. In any case, we are closer to the end of the End Times than we have ever been before. It is time to make sure we are gathering.
I am the consummate loner. I have always liked to be alone. The things I like to do are mostly things that I can do by myself. I could be a hermit with very little encouragement. However, when I was struck with my anxiety awhile back, I think it was more than just hormones and an unusual family situation. God really used that time in my life to teach me about community.
Most people with anxiety that I have read about shun other people when they are in its throws. They tend to isolate themselves and avoid any place where there may be more than just a few people. I had the opposite reaction. I think the anxiety must be counter to your instincts. I mean, most people love to go out to eat or to a party or hang out at the mall and just get out. When anxiety strikes them, they hide. I would be perfectly happy within the confines of my own 4 walls most days of my life. When I was dealing with anxiety, I wanted to go ANYWHERE where there would be people. Any. Where. I didn't need to talk to anyone necessarily. I just needed to know they were there.
With God's help, I have gotten over (most) of the debilitating aspects of the anxiety. And while I don't have that constant need to be around people like I did when I thought I was going to burst into flames at any given moment, I enjoy and seek out people a thousand times more than I did before. I think it's important. I think it's what we are supposed to do. I think we are to gather.
Don't fight the urge to get together with like minded people. If an idea occurs to you, go with it. Ask a few girlfriends over to knit the afternoon away. Go volunteer to cook dinner for the youth. Take an elderly neighbor to run errands. Just get out there and get together. And by all means, if you are not in a church community, find one!
Be an encouragement to others. The Day is approaching!