The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life. Revelations 22:17
God desires to be amongst His people.
That has been the plan from the very beginning when He created man (gender neutral). His intention was not for a visitation or mere manifestation but a habitation and an expressed flow of His presence and love with His people. As we continue to turn our affections to Him, we begin to grasp what the psalmist meant when he wrote “better is one day in Your courts, than a thousand elsewhere”.
Now, it can be tempting to think that our faith is meant to be a mere personal connection with God on a regular basis and nothing else. However, this misses the point of the presence of His people with us.
The bridegroom and the bride – the analogy of the wedding couple fits into this view. It is alluded to by Jesus when He told the disciples – “In My Father’s house, there are many rooms… I go to prepare a place for you.” Jesus uses it again in Revelations and explicitly uses the term “bride” (Revelations 22:17), which refers to His church – us.
Yes, on a personal level, we need to surrender our will to Him and allow Him to iron out the kinks in our lives. Yes, on a personal level, we must seek out His plan for our lives and learn how to lean in and listen to His voice. Yes, on a personal level, worship is how we build intimacy with Him – we worship through song, and how we serve Him through the work of our hands. However, what we need to note, is that:
God never meant for a relationship with Him to be “personal” at the expense and exclusion of “corporate” (body).
The church is not a physical structure – the place where you go to each weekend (now that physical services are resuming), is a building where a local body of Christ gathers, and there are many of such buildings all around the world.
The church is made up of individuals coming together to form the “body” of Christ – and Christ, who is the “head” is coming back for a “body” that is proportionate to the “head”.
Why do you think He said, “be holy as I am holy”? He is giving us a glimpse of the standard of the “head” so that we as His “body”, made up of individuals coming together, now align ourselves to that standard.
As He calls us deeper to a season of rediscovering His presence, it is also a call to rethink how it is meant to be rediscovered – not just on a “personal” level, but a “corporate” (body) level.