Friday, January 13, 2012

Two or Three

"Wherever two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am in the midst of them."  (Jesus - Matt. 18:20) 

Some of the most powerful times I've had in the Lord have been with one or two other people.  

Yes, I know I'm supposed to go to church ... even though the commandment in Hebrews 10:25 says simply to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together and says nothing about the number of people.  All I am saying is that sometimes the sheer numbers make it a little hard to connect with people, and sometimes they make it hard to connect with God.  For me, that is.  

I'm also not denying that I've had some pretty amazing spiritual experiences in church - and that I love worshiping God with my particular bunch of Christians that I hang out with on Sundays.  

Source of this photo:
But there's something about an intimate gathering, isn't there?  In a large church setting, for example, sometimes I feel hesitant to ask for prayer for some personal needs I might have, because first of all I don't want just anyone knowing what those needs are... and second of all ... I don't really like the whole idea behind someone I barely know coming up to me and "laying hands on" me.  (Isn't there a scripture about not laying hands suddenly on anyone? ... but I digress.)  I guess I still have a touch of claustrophobia (fear of being enclosed, not being able to get away) - or is it demophobia (fear of people / crowds)?  Perhaps it's both.  

And perhaps it's just my perception, but I sometimes get the feeling I'm being judged in a large church setting, judged for my dress code, for my choice of seat, for my singing ability, for how often I attend - any number of things both positive and negative.  As an example of this idea, I am EXTREMELY uncomfortable with applause (something I've noticed has crept into the church and which seems to be done more and more for every little thing someone does).  I've been applauded both as an individual and a member of a worship team; I feel it robs me of the intrinsic reward of doing something I love doing for Jesus, and robbed - perhaps - even of my eternal reward.  What I do in church is not a "performance." And it's not a "job" (e.g., "Good job...")  It's ministry TO God.  Just saying. Okay, I'll get off my hobby horse now...      ;)

Being with one or two other people and sharing more deeply experiences, strength, and hope - in a totally accepting atmosphere - being able to pray in depth for things that "we three" agree upon - has been the source of much fulfillment, and has built close relationships with people rather than tearing relationships down with doubt and superficiality.  And it's helped me connect with God on a more intimate level, built my faith even.  I'm beginning to understand that two or three people sharing and agreeing in prayer about something that is close to God's heart have just as much spiritual power as two or three hundred, because that power doesn't come from the number of people.

It comes from the One in the midst of them.

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