24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. ~Hebrews 10:24-25
I am increasingly impressed by the reality that to know God, to know God in Jesus Christ means that we do this in community, in church. If God’s Self-knowledge, if his Self-existence is shaped not in singularity but multiplicity, in Trinity, then it would follow that as those recreated in the image of God in and through the vicarious humanity of Christ that our knowledge of God, as we participate in his multiplied life, will in kind be the shape through which we come to know him among the community of saints, in multiplicity among the people of God.
What becomes difficult, for someone like me (and maybe like you) is that this community is hard to come by, at the moment. The reality of my work schedule often keeps me from even attending church on Sundays, let alone being involved in the body life of the local church; and this is troubling to me. Yes, I read the bible habitually; I read theology habitually; I attempt to share Christ with co-workers and others as opportunity presents itself; but I am missing the kind of community and koinonia (fellowship) that I believe is so vital to a vigorous life in and for Christ. Yes, I share life with my family, and we share Christian community right here (I don’t want to underestimate the value of this built in community that God has provided for in the so called nuclear family). But there is something unique and special about communing together in the body of Christ (the church) proper.
The reality is, is that the kingdom of Christ is not cultivated in isolation, but together, together with other people who have the Spirit in them (Romans 8); with Christians. God’s grace remains sufficient, and nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, and so in these wilderness times we press on looking forward to the upward call in Christ Jesus and are always abounding in the work of Lord, not losing heart, but finding sufficiency in the life of Christ shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Maybe the Lord places us in isolated moments sometimes in order to teach us how important the body of Christ actually is; maybe he creates a thirst for his righteousness among his people in the wilderness, so to speak. But I am sure that lack of Christian fellowship should never be a normative thing; not at least if you want to know God in Christ in a full and rich way.