Lent devotions 2011: Saturday 26 March

…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 10:25

This is one of those texts that, at some points in our Christian life, seems clear enough. At other times, though, we don’t like what we read: what do you mean, we have to keep meeting together? With this lot? When we don’t feel like it? We’re busy people!

Firstly, notice that the writer is talking about habits: the choices we make without noticing that we’re making them. We’re to break the bad habit of “neglecting to meet together” – and note that the writer is only addressing those who neglect to meet, not those who are prevented from doing so by illness or infirmity – and replace it with the good habit of encouraging our fellow Christians. It’s a question of what is our default setting.

The writer knows this is sometimes hard, which is why he gives a Gospel reason rather than a Law one: to encourage one another. Meeting together is good for us and good for our fellow Christians – even if it doesn’t always feel like it. Anyway, if we don’t feel like we have time, that is just a reminder that the Day is drawing near.

Finally, what are we encouraging each other to do? The writer tells us in the preceding verse: to “stir each other up to love and good works”. Wake up, you sleepers, he says. The Day is coming, and there is stuff to be done.

Father, give us the strength to do the works You have prepared for us, until You return. Amen.