The assembling of ourselves together
While preaching recently on the twelve apostles, I focussed on John's statement about Thomas: 'Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came'. John, of course, does not tell us why Thomas was missing, but his despondent, melancholy frame of mind was not helped by his absence from the gathered group of disciples, into whose presence Jesus came. Sometimes God, in his providence, isolates his people from the means of grace - and that is always with a good purpose in view; but when they isolate themselves, it is always to their detriment. The presence of Christ - the peace of Christ - the promise of Christ; all these were lost to Thomas simply because he was not there.
I am conscious of the fact that some Christians question the need for all but the most basic commitment to public worship, and of the fact that evening worship is generally more poorly attended than morning worship (although interestingly in Lewis the reverse is the case), or has dropped out altogether.
But what is worship? Is it not the divine bridegroom saying to his bride, 'Come with me ... How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much better is your love than wine...' (Song 4:8, 10). Why is the bride in the twenty-first century so ready to find other things better than the assembly of the saints, and the prospect of a meeting with Christ among them?