“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” (Matthew 18:20) Over the years, I have often used this passage to teach about the presence of God being among us in a congregational worship gathering. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t fully understand how an omnipresent God can be more present in some places than in others. But that’s what Jesus said. It seems to me that it’s perfectly okay to leave room for some mystery in our interactions with the Lord. If we could fully and adequately explain everything about Him, maybe God wouldn’t be infinite after all. Yet, He is.
Recently, though, I’ve started looking more at the first section of this verse. “Where two or three are gathered in my name…” There is apparently something different – something special – about gathering together with others. It’s not wrong for us to be alone at times, even to pray and worship. But Jesus indicates that the rules change as we gather with others.
It’s not that He isn’t with us when we are by ourselves. Clearly He is. He promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5) The Lord is always there. Yet, Jesus’ words give us a clear indication that something is different – the atmosphere is transformed – when we gather with others.
In Psalm 133:1, we read, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” The final words of that chapter point to the idea that God’s blessing rests, not where someone is flying solo, but where His people are dwelling together in unity. That seems to be similar to the idea of gathering together with others. The Lord is present; God gives His blessing.
Jesus sent His missionaries out two by two. In the book of Acts, it was when they were all gathered in one place, in unity, that the Holy Spirit was poured out. Later, the apostles always seemed to have a traveling companion and fellow-minister. There is something profound and God-ordained about being connected with others. The Lord apparently likes and wants that.