"For where two or three gather in my name,
there am I with them."
|"Family Grace" by Norman Rockwell|
This is a familiar verse of Scripture, and it has come to mean so much more to me in these latter days. As I've expressed before, I feel our mega-churches often lose Jesus in the midst of all their activities. Between the business aspect of running a large church, to trying to please all the factions within the membership, we sometimes lose sight of Who we are worshipping.
I strongly feel that the small groups I meet with to study and grow in the Word, are so much closer to realizing the truth of this passage. We are focused on Jesus and what He wants us to know about Him, rather than meeting our obligation to fill a seat in the sanctuary every Sunday. I feel we have truly invited Jesus to be a part of our worship. As churches struggle to keep their audiences entertained, I'm not sure He is always the center of attention.
Now that I've climbed down off my soapbox, I want to reveal a very special experience that showed me the truth of our Lord's words. This past week I had to travel over three hours to a major metropolitan imaging center for my annual mammogram. This didn't use to be such a big deal, but since the advent of my sister's breast cancer a few years ago, this yearly examination now brings me a fair amount of anxiety.
As I was ushered into the x-ray room, I was warmly greeted by a nurse, who asked me to remove my hoop earrings before we started. I asked her if I should also remove my necklace and held it out for her inspection. This necklace is very precious to me. Peace-Loving Warrior bought it for me, in commemoration of my special friendship with Avihai and Ophir, a Messianic Believing couple from Jersusalem. The menorah represents God's covenant and statutes; the Star of David represents the Jews, God's chosen people; and the Christian fish represents the early Gentile Believers. The entire pendant symbolizes the common root of each of our faiths, and our shared belief in the Saving Grace of Yeshua (Jesus in Hebrew). As Jesus says in John 17:23, "May they (all Believers) be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me." This necklace represents the faith I share with my Messianic friends, who live a world away in Jerusalem.
The nurse took one look at my necklace and reached inside her smock and pulled out a similar necklace. We were instantly engrossed in a conversation about how much we were learning in the Word. You know that these medical facilities operate by moving patients in and out as fast as they can, so we literally had just a few moments to share our testimonies. So we talked as fast as we could, and all I can tell you is that the Holy Spirit was in that room!
We both declared our amazement at how much the Word was opening up to us and how new understanding was being revealed at an unprecedented rate. She, too, has a connection with a Messianic Sunday School Teacher, which has brought a new level of comprehension as we read familiar Scripture. We could have talked for hours!
As she finished my x-rays, she grabbed my hands and we stood in that cold room and she prayed; she asked God for a clean bill of health for me, and most importantly, she thanked Him for bringing us together and allowing us to proclaim His greatness and His sovereignty. As she finished, we hugged each other, and I left that room knowing that God was with us in that moment. I felt His presence and His love, just as Matthew 18:20 says.
Needless to say, that day will stay with me forever. I may never see that nurse again, based on the number of people that are run through that facility, but I have no doubt that our meeting was a Divine appointment. Our Lord was there in that room, because two women gathered together and proclaimed His name. It's that simple.