WE LIVED CLOSE TOGETHER
The little piece of Ecclesia had a very practical element that made it all possible. We lived in proximity because we were college students, but even after we settled into neighborhoods, we lived either within walking distance or a few minutes from one another. In the earliest days, we lived very close together. The group Doug Krieger was with in Berkeley (1971-73) took over huge houses, and apartment buildings. It was just a matter of going downstairs or across the street.
The neighborhood in which we lived in Sacramento was lower middle class, but we had kids’ classes in our homes and soon led many of the parents to the Lord as well (and we are still in touch with some of them). You would be hoarse praising the Lord loudly to one another. We met in our homes Sunday morning and rented a big room in a hotel for all the neighborhoods to come together.
How can you experience Ecclesia when you see one another one meeting a week (I have an answer to this later)? We are so busy. We are so dispersed geographically. There are so many demands from work, kids, sports, and just life itself, we are into cruises and experiences. How can we possibly have meaningful relationships with each other? At one time we had 20+ meetings a week. It wasn’t a burden. It was a joy. We shared everything with one another and you add the bond we had in Christ—it was fantastic.
So, you may say, “But Dene, that sounds good, but it can’t happen now. We are all spread out, so busy, so overwhelmed by life. You may have done it back then but not now.” On the surface that it true. But, if we are living in the “last day,” we may well see what Jesus calls the greatest tribulation the world has ever seen. That is what He called it, not me. We are already seeing society turning against Christians, calling us the new terrorists. The world we once knew is going, going and almost gone. Jesus tells us our friends and family will turn on us and we will be delivered up to the courts.
My prediction is that natural, political and societal events will overtake us. Our debit and credit cards won’t work. Our savings, including our currency, will be gone, retirement and social security gone. We will be thrown together like never before in modern times or at least since the Great Depression. If you have a 5-bedroom house, there will be 5 families living in it; a 3 bedroom—3 families. You get the idea. We will be thrown together like never before. No gas to get to “Church.” We will once again see one another as “church”—ECCLESIA—as the living, breathing Body of Christ, as the testimony of Jesus to a dying world.
This is why the time for Ecclesia has come. We need to toss the old wine skin and go and meet Him outside the camp, get real with God and one another and become the testimony Jesus intends his Church to be (Rev. 12:11). I believe we are metaphorically in the seven years of plenty (akin to Joseph’s 7-years of plenty and 7-years of famine in Egypt) but the seven years of famine are coming. Now is the time to get serious. Now is the time to get ready. Now is the time to find a group of people you can trust with your very life!