Tribalism or togetherness?
Recent events have made me think about our church gatherings and what makes us so glad to be part of a body of believers, worshipping together in one place.
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the Lord.” – Psalm 122:1
Why do we meet together and how does it make you feel? Church gatherings are often filled with the most diverse groups of people. All coming together to praise God from so many different backgrounds. Often the only thing we have in common is our love for God and our excitement to worship God as part of His family. When our hearts and minds are focussed on God, our social and physical differences are irrelevant.
I believe God is doing a new thing in each one of us, so that when we meet in small numbers or large, we will join together as the church He desires. We will discover the new thing God is doing as each one brings the unique part God has given each individual.
When we gather in the name of Jesus, celebrating our uniqueness, we are church with Jesus is in midst doing the building.
For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
Tribalism was present in the Old Testament and they didn’t always see eye to eye. But they all came together to worship in Jerusalem despite their differences.
Where the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, to the Testimony of Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord. – Psalm 122:4
Tribalism seems to now be a huge issue in today’s society. It can be extremely divisive and destructive, setting people against each other and destroying communities. Tribalism was also a problem in the early church as we can see in 1 Corinthians 3:1-4. The differences among believers was destroying the experience of gathering and stunting their spiritual growth.
Tribalism has been a problem in the modern church, with many brothers and sisters falling out over types of music, service styles, culture or our different interpretations of a few verses of scripture.
Now is the time to inspect our hearts, and decide to be men and women of peace, choosing togetherness over tribalism. We must set aside any differences and pray for peace as we look forward to coming together in our places of worship, just as the psalmist prays for peace in theirs.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you. 7 Peace be within your walls, Prosperity within your palaces.” 8 For the sake of my brethren and companions, I will now say, “Peace be within you.” 9 Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek your good. – Psalm 122:6-9
In the same way let us all pray that we will have peace in our gatherings and that all we do to lift up the name of Jesus will prosper. I pray too that God’s peace would be upon your individual situation, so that when you bring your unique part to a gathering of God’s people, it too can be celebrated, as we all focus on worshiping almighty God together as one.