Some people have gotten out of the habit of meeting for worship, but we must not do that. We should keep on encouraging each other, especially since you know that the day of the Lord's coming is getting closer.
-- Hebrews 10:25
Ask a dozen people what comes to mind when you say the word "church," and you'll likely get several different answers. Their responses will likely range from traditional clapboard country meeting houses to modern arena-style worship centers to Gothic European cathedrals. Others might take a different approach with answers citing the house churches that are common in China and Cuba. And believe it or not, some might even mention churches that meet in movie theaters (imagine that!).
The common denominator here is the link with a location or style of building. But that's not the way the Bible defines church. Rather than an impressive structure filled with pews and crowned by a soaring steeple, the church is really people--all the people on Earth who have accepted and trust Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. So no matter who you are and where you live--if you're a Christ-follower--you're part of His church called the Body of Christ.
That's a remarkable concept because it means we're a part of a literal body of believers spread all over the globe. We speak different languages, are of different races and come from different cultures. But we're all united by Jesus' death on the cross as payment in full for all the wrongs we've done (and continue to do) in our lives. As different as we are, we're a single family that's accepted Jesus' free gift of forgiveness.
But as with all families (even the best and most stable ones), differences, disagreements and disappointments are bound to arise among its members. And the fact is that the church isn't perfect. And why should it be? It's made up of imperfect people who do very imperfect things.
This all leads to another key Biblical truth about the church: It's not about us. It's instead all about Jesus. Everything we do as Christ-followers ought to be done to glorify God through Christ, who the Bible tells us is the head of the church. Whether it's a local gathering of believers or the millions of Christ-followers on Earth, this Body of Christ answers to an audience of One.
Jesus paid for His church with something much more valuable than money or gold. He bought our spiritual freedom and eternal future at the price of His own blood. So whether we worship Him in a massive cathedral, a quaint country church or even a multiplex movie theater, we're ultimately one body joined through a common faith.
Let's strive as Christ-followers to make it a body that's healthy, strong and worthy of His sacrifice.