John 20:19   Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

Just like that day John writes of, Christians today gather together on the first day of the week.   We, too, shut the doors to keep away the dangers and evils and distractions of the outside world for a moment.   We come together in His name to worship, knowing He is there with us and we know the peace that only our lord can give to us.

Christ knew we would grow stronger in knowledge, faith and love if we observed regular, consistent times of study, communion and worship.  He also knew us and the blessing we would be to each other and the bond we would share if we spent this time alone together behind shut doors in worship every week.  He knew we would become a family.  We are told not to forsake this precious time we assemble together but to encourage each other as the day approaches.  There is nothing holy about bricks and mortar but the house where each congregation meets becomes special in the hearts of each member.  It is like a home where a family grows up together with love and memories and peace.

Coy, AR was once a small but busy farming community.  The hard-working farmers and families in that area united and built a vibrant congregation of the Lord’s church.  For many years the little church house in Coy, AR  was a home where Christians came together to shut out the world for a time to worship God and bind themselves together as His family.  Many children were brought inside this church house to grow up knowing and loving the Lord from Bible teachings in classrooms and lessons from the pulpit.  God’s family came together every Sunday and filled the pews to partake of the Lord’s Supper and remember the Lord’s sacrifice. They studied from God’s word and lifted up their voices together to sing praises to God.  Young gospel preachers were given their first opportunity to minister here and some ministers recognized the special quality of the people in this congregation and stayed for many years.  But, now the community no longer bustles and most have moved away.  The cotton gin stands tall but is now quiet and covered with vines and weeds.  The little hardware store and grocery stores are completely gone without a trace they were ever there.  Sadly, there are too few members left to maintain the church’s house of worship.  The church planned to gather inside and close the doors to be alone together with the Lord for one final worship service.  Then the doors that had always kept the world away would be closed to them.

God’s family all over the world shares their lives with each other within the walls of their church home behind shut doors.  They come together in that place to share in happy occasions with beautiful brides and nervous grooms at weddings.  They witness the thrill of baptizing loved ones into Christ and celebrate with the angels each time one is restored to the Lord.  There is help for widows all alone and for anyone having hard times.  Loving arms enfold us and hands are held tight at funerals to give strength to those with broken hearts.  Heartfelt prayers, often led on bended knee, go up to God with thankful hearts.  They pray for each other, for our country’s leaders, our soldiers and for the church around the world.  God’s family opens their hearts and their finances to enable missionaries to spread God’s word all over the world.  They know that through their contributions to orphanages the children will see how much Jesus loves them and know how much He cares.

The “sharing” and “togetherness” and “acts of caring and love for each other” are what form the strong ties that bind The family of God tightly and it is what brought so many back to Coy for one last worship service.  Christians came from near and far to be a part of the day and filled that small auditorium one last time.  Stories of history and generations of family and many memories were shared before the worship service began.  Then, they shut the doors and worshipped together in the presence of the Lord one last time.

There are occasions when everyone must close doors as well as times when doors are closed to us.  Some occasions are happy and others are very sad.  But God’s family never has to deal with sorrow alone and Christians always have someone to share joy with.  Jesus is the perfect example in all things and He knows the sadness of having  doors closed to Him.  The Bible says that He stands at the door and knocks and waits for the door of hearts to open to Him.  What a comfort to have such a loving, patient savior who understands the things that hurt.  The Bible tells us about the day our Lord was crucified and what it was like for those who followed him and those who wept at His feet.  It was like a heavy, immoveable door closed to them forever.  They were afraid and to them that day seemed to be a dark ending of all they had worked for and shared together.  They did not know at the time that day of bitter agony and sorrow would forever be a day Christians would always cherish and remember by observing the Lord’s Supper on the first day of every week.  Because, when Christdied our relationship with Him was born.

October 4, 2009  the doors were shut on the house that was home to the Church of Christ in Coy, AR.  The Lord’s family that met there will forever hold a special place in their hearts for the memories of time spent together in that church house.  They will remain strong in their faith and move on to quickly relocate to a new house of worship where a new Christian family will welcome them in.  New fields await their continued labor for the Lord.  Until we meet again.

Revelation 3:7-8 …. :  These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut…

By Darlene Beeler | Freelance Writer
Darlene Beeler is a Christian woman with a passion for topical Bible research and compiling scripture-based lessons for Women’s Bible Classes and Workshops