“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet 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 was glad when [the elders] said to me, Let us go to the house of the LORD” without a mask! Two weeks ago our church returned to normal! We met together with no masks and no social distancing. What a difference a smile makes, and the human touch, even if it is only a fist bump! It’s so much more conducive to love and good works and encouraging one another in gathered worship and the social interaction before and after.

In the providence of God a ten-year-old boy got baptized and took membership vows on that special day. He stood before the congregation, immaculately attired like a mini-parson, with no mask to hide behind, right at the limits of his solemn fidgeting courage, and answered the membership questions with no hesitation. We all vowed to do our part as the family of God. Then he returned to his pew with a sigh of relief and his mother went forward and sang a soulful song—A Mother’s Prayer, by Keith and Kristin Getty—as she gazed into her son’s eyes. That frozen-chosen Presbyterian congregation was stirred up to a weepy loving smiling mess by the time she finished that hymn of encouragement and admonishment and calling on our Sovereign God’s leading for her beloved son.

In the dark times ahead it will not be the last time that earnest young man has to take a courageous stand for our God, and the hearers may well be the opposite of supportive. But Jesus has won the war and we are just mopping up against a tenacious devil in his death throes. All things are coming to pass precisely according to God’s perfect providence, for His glory and the good of those who love Him. 

Meantime, as Puritan Thomas Watson said, “the profaneness of the times should not slacken our zeal, but heighten it.” We will not neglect to joyfully meet together to worship the One True God as the day of His return draws nearer. We have a sound church and a sweet cloud of witnesses who work for the unity of the body in the bonds of The Spirit, who love and encourage one another, defying a dying world’s attempt to split us from one another and our God-given faith.  It is such a blessing to be a part of this family of God.

See your smiling face in church!

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