February 27, 2020

Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them. Matthew 18:18-20

I have a lot of loved ones who describe themselves as Christian but who do not attend worship regularly. They have their reasons—busy work schedules, not feeling at home in a particular congregation, and/or they are still sorting through damaging religious messages they received growing up. While I don’t discount their experiences, I cannot help but feel that they are missing out on something very special. If I am paying attention, I experience the presence of God any time I gather with God’s people. When I look out into the pews each Sunday morning, I see a mix of people of various ages, professions, backgrounds, and political views. If it weren’t for the church, there is a good chance that I would have no reason to interact with some of them at all in my daily life. Yet because we gather as the Body of Christ, the faces I look out and see each week are people that I care for deeply. We may not agree on everything (we might not agree on much at all!), but we are all gathered to worship God, and that is enough to bind us together.

One of my all-time favorite hymns is “Here in this Place,” also known as “Gather Us In.” The final verse says “Not in the dark of buildings confining, not in some heaven light years away, but here in this place the new light is shining, now is the kingdom, now is the day. Gather us in and hold us forever. Gather us in and make us your own. Gather us in, all peoples together, fire of life in our flesh and our bones.” When we gather as God’s people, we not only experience a glimpse of the kingdom of God; we also help bring about the kingdom here and now. Thanks be to God!

Loving God, I give thanks that when two or three are gathered in your name, you are there with us. Help us to experience your presence when we gather for worship, and give us your heart to love each other as you love us. In your Son’s name I pray. Amen.

Rev. Leslie A. Lang

About the Contributor:
Rev. Leslie A. Lang is the Associate Pastor for Young Adults and Missions at First Presbyterian Church.