No Books, No Pews, No Problem

Let your imagination go, and come travel with me. It’s Sunday morning as we drive down a deserted street somewhere in the United States. We are strangers to the area, and we want to meet with the local assembly to worship God. We find a telephone book and hurriedly look up the church’s address to drive to the location. To our surprise, we find no building. Furthermore, we find no pews, no song books, and no leather-bound Bibles. What we do find is a group of people praising God in prayer and song. They are also reading from some old letters.
Sounds strange, does it not? Does this scene make you feel uneasy? We are cautious, for we like to think of our religion as being stable, rich, and beautiful. It has to make us feel good, and it definitely has to be American. Our buildings must have carpet, heating, and air conditioning. Anything less makes us feel uncomfortable.
Now that we feel justified, let us look at the early church. The first century church had no pews or song books, and they did not meet in church buildings (Acts 16:13-15; 1 Corinthians 16:19). Are we better off than they were? Probably not, for the primitive church was rich spiritually. Being justified by the blood of Christ, they willingly persevered in his name (Acts 8:1-3) while they waited for the end of time (2 Peter 3:10-18).
Are you spiritually rich? What are you waiting for? Christian, are you up for the task?
“Faith of our fathers living still,
In spite of dungeon, fire, and sword;
O how our hearts beat high with joy
Whenever we hear that glorious word.”
— Frederick Faber

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