There was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the days of Solomon son of David king of Israel there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem» (2 Chronicles 30:26).
When King Hezekiah called the people of Israel and Judah to come to Jerusalem for a special Passover celebration, he had a good reason. Many Israelites had turned their backs on God, choosing to worship idols, or nothing at all.
What is it that most Americans worship nowadays? We as a nation aren’t exactly filling our churches each week. Millions would rather watch the ball game on cable than attend religious services. But God isn’t worried about numbers. He’s concerned about hearts.
While traveling through Germany, my mother, sister, and I spent the Sabbath with some Adventist acquaintances. When church time rolled around, we suddenly found ourselves surrounded by soldiers—American soldiers from a nearby Army base. They’d come to worship with us. We weren’t in a church with a big pipe organ and we had no pews—just some folding chairs. No famous preacher stood to preach—unless you consider my mom famous.
What we did have was community—Christian community. Our church, our community, consisted of a handful of hearts joined by a common love for God.
After our church service we ate a meal together and then waved goodbye as our military friends headed back to base. As far as I know, I’ve never seen them again. But it didn’t matter. For a few hours, in a foreign land, we’d been a community built around a shared love for God.