“But it’s not about offering fellow Christians a word of encouragement. The stoke comes from gathering. It’s when we gather that we should be caught up in the act of stoking one another on toward love and good deeds.”- Timothy D. Willard (emphasis author’s)
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”- Hebrews 10:24 (NIV)
As Timothy Willard moves on in Chapter 10 of The Beauty Chasers, he talks about two more aspects of the grammar of togetherness. When used as an adverb, together describes how to live during hard, slow, or blessed times. In addition, we need to live together in relation to one another.
So, Timothy asks, do we stand together today? Or do we place greater importance on taking a certain side, placing ourselves within inner rings, or shouting our activism? Also, as Sherry Turkle astutely observes in Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other:
“Our networked life allows us to hide from each other, even as we are tethered to each other. We’d rather text than talk.”
Finally, Timothy considers the word together as a heritage of faith. God’s power emerges through togetherness – the Trinity. The world comes alive as God speaks. And the pursuit of reunion with God conquers separation.
In conclusion, Timothy relates, the 1950s saw the term stoke gain popularity with surf riders. Thus, when a surfer rides high on the waves, stoke means “overjoyed, thrilled, delighted.”
Above all, the author notes, we find this idea of stoke in the New Testament. For example, in Hebrews 10:24, the writer urges us to stoke the fires of our faith. And gathering together enhances the effect. Because, Timothy asks:
“Who doesn’t need encouragement in their faith? Who doesn’t need a time set aside to meet with brothers and sisters of the faith and hear stories of how God is working?”
Today’s question: Do you agree that the stoke comes from the gathering? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Punching your spiritual time card”