Can’t God’s temple be duplicated at home?
Over the years I have met people who have chosen not to join a church, choosing, rather, to “worship” at home. Some have convinced themselves church is a waste of time, and feel they can be close to God while staying home on a Sunday morning. Others believe none of the churches teach the Bible according to their own interpretation, and choosing to worship in the privacy of their own home, assure themselves they won’t have to hear any false teachings.
Some people have chosen to stay away from church because of past conflict with a clergyman, or perhaps got tired of hearing pleas for money, and have convinced themselves that giving to a charity is money better spent (in reality, church goers tend to outspend non-church goers in charitable giving).
In truth, God has given us the Church as the very place wherein we can grow spiritually, while enjoying the protection, and the blessings of being in weekly contact with other believers. Just like an earthly family, we don’t always enjoy the presence of other members, but it is often those difficult and uncomfortable moments that help us grow the most. As well, there are blessings that would never be experienced, should we remain apart from fellow Christians.
In Luke 4:16, we read that Our Lord Jesus Christ was regularly in the temple, for “He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom.” It was Christ’s regular practice to go to church, “As he always did on the Sabbath, he went to the meeting place.” If Our Lord Jesus made it a priority to meet together with other believers, how can we excuse ourselves from doing the same.
Perhaps the most important reason for weekly church attendance lies in the fact that it is only in the church where we can receive Holy Communion, for Our Lord went so far as to say that unless we eat of His flesh, and drink of His blood, we will have no life in us (John 6:53). It is in the reception of Holy Communion where we receive the grace needed to grow spiritually, and where we are empowered to live in all holiness and truth.
Finally, the neglect of corporate worship grieves the Holy Spirit who lives within the individual believer and the Church as a whole, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30)”.
With love in Christ,
Wednesday March 4, 2020 / February 20, 2020
First Week of the Great Lent. Tone four.
Great Lent. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)
Venerable Leo, bishop of Catania in Sicily (ca. 780).
Abbot Macarius and 34 monks and novices of Valaam Monastery martyred by the Lutherans: hieromonk Titus, schemamonk Tikhon, monks Gelasius, Sergius, Varlaam, Sabbas, Conon, Silvester, Cyprian, Pimen, John, Simonas, Jonah, David, Cornelius, Niphon, Athanasius, and Serapion, and novices Varlaam, Athanasius, Anthony, Luke, Leontius, Thomas, Dionysius, Philip, Ignatius, Basil, Pachomius, Basil, Theophilus, John, Theodore, and John (1578).
New Hieromartyr Nicholas priest (1938).
St. Yaroslav the Wise (1054).
Venerable Agatho, wonderworker of the Kiev Caves (13th-l4th c.).
Beheading of Venerable Cornelius, abbot of the Pskov Caves (1570), and his disciple St. Bassian of Murom.
Hieromartyr Sadoc (Sadoth), bishop of Persia, and 128 Martyrs with him (342).
Venerable Agatho, pope of Rome (682).
Venerable Bessarion the Great, wonderworker of Egypt (466) (Greek).
St. Cindeus, bishop of Pisidia (Greek).
Hieromartyr Eleutherius, bishop in Byzantium (2nd c.).
St. Eleutherius, bishop of Tournai (531).
St. Eucherius, bishop of Orleans (740).
The Scripture Readings
3 Many people shall come and say,
“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
4 He shall judge between the nations,
And rebuke many people;
They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
Neither shall they learn war anymore.
The Day of the Lord
5 O house of Jacob, come and let us walk
In the light of the Lord.
6 For You have forsaken Your people, the house of Jacob,
Because they are filled with eastern ways;
They are soothsayers like the Philistines,
And they are pleased with the children of foreigners.
7 Their land is also full of silver and gold,
And there is no end to their treasures;
Their land is also full of horses,
And there is no end to their chariots.
8 Their land is also full of idols;
They worship the work of their own hands,
That which their own fingers have made.
9 People bow down,
And each man humbles himself;
Therefore do not forgive them.
10 Enter into the rock, and hide in the dust,
From the terror of the Lord
And the glory of His majesty.
11 The lofty looks of man shall be humbled,
The haughtiness of men shall be bowed down,
And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.
24 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so. 25 And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
29 And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. 30 Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. 31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
The Garden of Eden
2 Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. 2 And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.
The Value of Wisdom
2 My son, if you receive my words,
And treasure my commands within you,
2 So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding;
3 Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
And lift up your voice for understanding,
4 If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
5 Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,
And find the knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;
7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
He is a shield to those who walk uprightly;
8 He guards the paths of justice,
And preserves the way of His saints.
9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice,
Equity and every good path.
10 When wisdom enters your heart,
And knowledge is pleasant to your soul,
11 Discretion will preserve you;
Understanding will keep you,
12 To deliver you from the way of evil,
From the man who speaks perverse things,
13 From those who leave the paths of uprightness
To walk in the ways of darkness;
14 Who rejoice in doing evil,
And delight in the perversity of the wicked;
15 Whose ways are crooked,
And who are devious in their paths;
16 To deliver you from the immoral woman,
From the seductress who flatters with her words,
17 Who forsakes the companion of her youth,
And forgets the covenant of her God.
18 For her house leads down to death,
And her paths to the dead;
19 None who go to her return,
Nor do they regain the paths of life—
20 So you may walk in the way of goodness,
And keep to the paths of righteousness.
21 For the upright will dwell in the land,
And the blameless will remain in it;
22 But the wicked will be cut off from the [d]earth,
And the unfaithful will be uprooted from it.