Consider yourself at home.
Consider yourself one of the family.
We’ve taken to you so strong.
It’s clear we’re going to get along.
Consider yourself well in
Consider yourself part of the furniture.
There isn’t a lot to spare.
Who cares?..What ever we’ve got we share!
So sings the Artful Dodger in the musical ‘Oliver’! I am not a great one for musicals but, I found myself thinking about that song today when, I was reflecting on a verse from the Bible which goes:-
No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
(John 15 vs, 4)
I lose count how many times people have challenged me on the need to attend Church, “I can worship on my own”, “I don’t have to go to Church to be a Christian”….
The truth is (stand by for a shock) no, you do not HAVE to go to Church. But (there is always a “but”) consider the risk of not attending Church and that brings me to the verse and the song.
I actually like the old version of this verse which uses the word “abide” because, to me, it conveys so much more than remain. It’s more than visiting, more than living, it is to continually dwell, in fact, (brace yourself, a bit of Greek coming up) the Greek word used here could be translated as “dwell”. Or, consider yourself at home in the vine.
So, how do we do that? Our private and personal journey with God is vital but, so is being in fellowship with others. In fact, (bit controversial now) I do not believe there is any such thing as a solo Christian – I cannot find it in the Bible. It’s as we receive and give and serve alongside others that our faith is stretched, we grow and our discipleship develops. I believe that is why the writer to the Hebrews says;
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
(Hebrews 10 vs. 25)
Perhaps I can encourage you to think about Church, get involved, give and receive because it’s part of abiding and you need to abide in order to bear fruit.