The last of August, Jewel and I attended the most inspiring and edifying get-together of Christians I have ever experienced; and I have been in a few such meetings. It started on a Thursday evening at 7 pm and continued through Sunday noon.
Disciples of Jesus came from many places - Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Arkansas, Texas, and Nevada. Both young and old were present; with men and women in their twenties to one beautiful woman of 94 years! Yes, there were some beautiful children present. They all related in the finest spirit I have ever seen; just as it must have been when the early saints came together from various places. The first meeting started at 7 pm and ended at 11:15 - with no break! That's when the "official" meeting broke up, but the discussion and getting to know one another continued after that. Each day these saints met together for breakfast at 7 am, with the day's activities starting at 8 am and continuing all day until about 11 pm. They ate lunch and dinner together, with only one short break in the morning and afternoon.
It was no cut-and-dried affair. There was an agenda for each day, but no precise time frame; it all came together in a great way. The women participated freely and there was a special study session for women only led by dedicated, dynamic women.
I would say that "the Spirit was moving," but some critics might think I mean in some "pentecostal" fashion and write that we all claimed to be baptized in the Holy Spirit, with some speaking in tongues, so I won't mention the "moving of the Spirit." Anyway, we all believe the meeting, the entire get-together, was the Lord's doing. And it was a learning, stimulating, happy and spiritually rewarding time.
Many vital Bible subjects were studied. One brother spoke on: "It's 10:00 am Sunday: Do You Know Where Your God Is?" Like other religious people, most Church of Christ people think that their God is down at the Church building where they must dutifully go in order to find God and "worship'' Him. God is found or located at the "sanctuary" called "the Church" (building). So somewhat like a bunch of idol worshippers who must go to a place to find their god, we are to report in at the proper time to pay an hour or so of homage to a God who appears to dwell in temples made with men's hands! It's a myth! It borders on idolatry. It's a ritual.
The idea, now fixed in Church of Christ teaching and practice, of going to the appointed place at the appointed time to do the appointed "items of worship" in the appointed way comes from the will and wisdom of men. The Church of Christ borrowed this from the Roman Catholic Church by way of other denominations.
Other subjects were discussed. It was a rare occasion. The people all participated. They shared their views and concerns. It was an uplifting spiritual "high" for all and everyone is anxious for the next occasion.
Another such gathering is planned for early June of 1988 and will be open to a much larger number of Christians. It will not be open to the public because the number of attendees is limited. If you are interested in attending the next get-together, please write to me. If you and yours attend with the right spirit, it will be a time you will never forget. Agreement about matters discussed in this paper is not a requirement to attend; just a seeking, honest and good heart. - CAH.