It was an interesting road trip from Memphis, TN to New York, NY. 1058 miles give or take, and lots of roadside theology along the way.
I'm not sure how much of a Greek scholar is the pastor of the Shiloh (TN) Church of Christ -- regardless his instincts are right on. In the New Testament, the Greek word we translate as 'church' is 'ekklesia' and means literally 'assembly'. The pastor's message here is a bit more eccleisologically minded than one generally finds in Southern Protestantism. It asserts that the church is a gift from God, which is in keeping with more high church, catholic ecclesiology. The 'assemly necessary' quip is well taken. St. Paul's vision of the church was of an assembled body of believers, individual members of the body of Christ on earth coming togetheer -- the 'church militant' as it is called. It matters that each of us as members of the body of Christ do assembly. Some assembly is required. It is important to go to church on Sunday -- not perhaps for what you get out of it, but rather what you are required to give to it.
And now we turn to the Church Triumphant, or at least one vision of it. This is the back of a tombstone in a cemetery just off I-81 somewhere north of Roanoke, VA. We stopped to let the dog have a walkabout and to use the outhouse in the cemetery ourselves (yes, there was one) and saw this. It's a nice sentiment, I suppose. I like the almost Mormon idea of a union here on earth lasting into the next life. But I'm not sure I want to think of continuing the labor God calls us to here on earth in the great hereafter. I'd like to think of us praising God for eternity, not trucking forever! But hey, if you really like trucking, then I guess that's what paradise is all about!