Lev. 23:2 “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, These are the appointed feasts of the LORD that you shall proclaim as holy convocations; they are my appointed feasts."
When I reached this passage in Leviticus, I realized that I didn't know what convocation meant. I had always read past the passage, assuming it meant "worship service." I decided to look it up to be sure. It turns out that convocation means "the act of convoking" according to Webster's Dictionary. Sighing, I then looked up convoke. It doesn't mean worship service at all. A convocation is when people come together, a time of coming together. So in Leviticus 23, when Moses is giving God's instructions on all the feast days, he is emphasizing that these are times when the nation was to come together and worship God as one. The Sabbath was a holy convocation for each community. On the Passover they came together to remember being freed from slavery in Egypt. On the feast of weeks they came together to offer the first fruits of their harvest to God. On the Day of Atonement they came together to fast, instead of feast, as they remembered their sins against God. On the Feast of Booths they came together to celebrate God's care for them. Ever—single—time--God ordered a day of worship, He wanted His people to come together to worship as a group.
This is a principle that clearly carries over to the New Testament. The early church "attended the temple together" to hear the Apostles' teaching (Acts 2:42, 46). They "gathered together to break bread" (Acts 20:7). We are told to exhort one another (1 Thess. 5:11) and admonish one another (Rom. 15:14), which clearly implies being together enough to know what exhortation and/or admonishment is needed. As Christians, we are called the family of God and the word "brethren" is used of Christians at least 135 times in the New Testament. A family defined by how we love each other (John 13:35) will naturally be together as much as possible, especially when worshipping the Head of that family.
Simply put, we cannot be the church that God intended, nor worship in the way He demands, if we never come together. Streaming services may be a wonderful way to help those who are legitimately homebound, but if we are able we need to be getting up and joining our brethren in "holy convocation" as we worship together. After all, how can I stir my brethren up to love and good works (Heb. 10:24) if I never see them? The early Christians came together to worship even though if caught the Romans would put them all to death. Surely we can brave a pandemic with a 98% survival rate! And if we do wind up being part of the unlucky 2%, aren't we really the more fortunate for the chance to go home early?
Hebrews 10:24-25 "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."