As a young teenager, I was introduced to the song, “We Gather Together.” Some of you may remember it as a song used to celebrate Thanksgiving. I never really gave it much thought until this week when it came to mind as I read a bulletin article on worship. I googled the song and learned that it was a Dutch hymn written around 1600 to celebrate the freedom of the Netherlands from Spain. It is suggested that the song is probably inappropriate for worship due to its militant and patriotic associations. It is not found in our song book today.
I thought about it in context with the need to meet together as God’s people on Sunday. The words of the song remind us that we are in a battle against the spiritual forces of evil (Eph. 6:12). But even more, a reminder that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Ps. 46:1). God is indeed watching over His people today.
But the song also reminds us that we need to seek the Lord’s help as we strive to live for Him day by day. “[If] My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chron. 7:14).
When we “gather together” to worship our God, we are proclaiming our love for Him and our desire to walk in the paths which lead heavenward. We “gather together” to spur each other on to live our lives more for Him each day! When we “gather together” we are reminded of the great joy we share as children of God and the hope we have for eternal life through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! When we “gather together” we are reminded that even though the world seems to be in such chaos and darkness, God is still in control and has promised us peace through Jesus Christ (John 14:27).
So, when we rattle off the verse, “…not forsaking the assembling together…” (Heb. 10:25), we are not just quoting some Bible verse. We are reminding ourselves that there is a great purpose in meeting together each week and when we choose to be absent from the assembly, then we are taking a step backward in our fight against the spiritual forces of evil.
May we faithfully “gather together” to praise God for His wonderful mercy and loving-kindness which He daily shares with us. “Be Thou forever praised, Thou God of the free!”
- Paul Mowrer Monticello church of Christ Monticello, AR