And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25
My dog, Maile, sleeps in a kennel. She actually prefers it. I’ve had dogs my entire life, and she is the first one I’ve crate-trained. I will admit I was skeptical at first. It just looks so cruel! How can anyone be happy, being in a cage? But every night, when her eyes are heavy and it is time for bed, she voluntarily abandons the freedom of our bed and goes back to the limits and the restrictions of her tiny little bed in her little wire cage. Do you know why? Because it is familiar to her…and, for dogs, there is great comfort in familiarity.
People are a bit like that too. Church people are especially like that. No matter how antiquated, no matter how ineffective, we all have a tendency to return to the familiar, to the “way it has always been”, because it is comfortable.
The writer of the letter to the Hebrews was fighting a battle which you as a present day church leader might recognize: the battle against the comfort of the familiar. It was a daunting task, getting the Hebrew Christians to persevere in the face of the persecution they faced and to stick with the very different forms of worship from those with which they had been reared. Gathering together as a church body every week with no sacrifices, no holy places, no sacred implements, no fancy robes, and with “traditions” which were all of one generation in age…all of these new ways had to hold the …