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Weekly Lift

#90. Thankful for working together - 3 John

Bruce Stanley

February 21, 2022

3 John: Thankful for working together

Welcome to the weekly lift number 90, Tuesday 22nd February 2022. We've been looking at thankfulness through the New Testament and today we look at the letter of 3 John: "Thankful for working together".

I was so encouraged last Sunday at our worship services. As restrictions ease and we are feeling the end is in sight for this 2-year pandemic, our church seats are once again filling up. Of course, many are still unwell, or at risk, or actually recovering from Covid. This will continue for some months yet I imagine. And our prayers remain with all those who are still looking forward to returning.

Overall, attendance is on the increase. But so what?

So what if attendance is up? What's the big deal if we're back on site?

The big deal is that we are able to meet together again, in person. The big deal is that we can be in each others' presence as we worship. This is no small thing.

As John writes this final letter to Gaius, he is encouraged to hear about the faithfulness of believers. He is encouraged to hear how Gaius and others were looking after each other and walking in the truth. He is encouraged that brothers and sisters who were visiting their church were being looked after, even though they were unknown to Gaius and his church. He is encouraged that they were able to show hospitality, working together for the truth.

3 John 1:5-8

5Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you. 6They have told the church about your love. Please send them on their way in a manner that honors God. 7It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. 8We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth.

To be able to physical share fellowship and physically show hospitality is a part of our walking together. Sharing a meal over Zoom is not really the same!

It's been wonderful to be able to live stream services, but as the past month has shown us, the NBN will not let this always be possible! The frustrations of internet issues and technology unreliability is a constant reminder that nothing can replace the beauty of being able to turn up in person!

This is why we come together when we can.

This is why we welcome newcomers who are able to join us each week.

This is why we continue to pray for those still not able to be with us.

Even John, such a great writer, chooses not to write some things in his letter because he wants to share some words with them face to face:

3 John 1:13-14

13I have much to write you, but I do not want to do so with pen and ink. 14I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.

I feel greatly for those who really desire to join us in person on a Sunday, but currently can not do so. I was watching the scenes at Sydney airport this week as long-separated families reunited after nearly 2 years of separation. As borders opened to international travellers, this was a great reminder of the pain and tyranny of distance in relationships.

And let's not forget how important it is to God. So important was our physical fellowship that he came to earth in the person of Jesus to live with us and die for us. He did not stay at a distance. He did not live stream his parables. He entered the doors of our world to sit with us and share fellowship.

I hope we are really able to embrace the joy of being physically together again. To see our buildings nearly full - to hear the noise of the morning tea and supper crowds after the services - is such a great joy. Because this is the noise of physical human fellowship, of hospitality, of working and walking together in the faith.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank you that many of us can once again join together. We thank you for the joy of showing hospitality, of welcoming others, and of caring for each other in person. We continue to pray for those yet unable to do so. And most of all we thank you for the fellowship we share with you, through Jesus, because you chose to come into this world, to live with us, and to die for us. Amen.

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    Cnr. Shaftsbury Rd & Clanalpine St, Eastwood NSW 2122

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