It is well known among Christians that the Bible never actually tells us to “go to church.” Jesus hadn’t even invented the church yet and meeting in designated, specially built church buildings for services was three centuries away, after Constantine made Christianity legal to practice openly. What the original Christians did was meet together in home, to do many of the things we think of today as “church” and “services.” They met each other in fellowship, no matter when or where or how.
They pooled their resources without having to pass official offering plates. They had a communal dinner during which they remembered Jesus, even without individualized communion cups and wafers. They studied the writings of the apostles together, even though they didn’t have paid ministers preaching prepared sermons. And they worshiped, authentically with whatever songs they knew and whatever instruments they had – even without hymnals, stages, praise bands, or big screens so everyone could read the words.
What the Bible does tell us, is to not forsake the fellowship – to not give up meeting together. It doesn’t say at a church and it doesn’t say on Sundays and it doesn’t say for a service. It just reminds us, plain as day, that Christians aren’t acting like Christians if they refuse to be in regular community with other Believers. Hebrews 10:25 warns, Do not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another.
Our challenge to you for Thanksgiving – Rogue Style – is to renew your focus on fellowship. Even if it doesn’t take the form of “traditional” Christianity today. Because traditional today doesn’t look anything like original Christianity anyways.
See Thanksgiving not only as a day to give thanks – to God and to others – but to spend time outside of church in fellowship with other Believers. Remember it as a time to spend with others. Invite someone to your family Thanksgiving celebration that you might not normally fellowship with outside of you regularly structured church habits.
Because the holidays can be hard on those who have recently lost somoene. Hard on people who are single. Hard on people living away from their families. Hard on people who are introverts. Hard on orphans, widows, foreigners, every group of people God repeatedly commanded we care for. Hard on anyone who doesn’t already have the fellowship God taught us is so valuable to our health and social wellness and faith development.
He created us for it. Trust him. We need others.
Invite someone from your life who might be lonely over for the holiday. Invite God in. Because what you do for the least of these, you’ve done for Him. Make your holiday more bountiful by welcoming an outsider in. For this is Gospel – Good News – that God took us from the outside and took us in, and told us extend the same grace to others.