I was at the hospital visiting a church member last week. We had a great conversation which touched on a variety of topics, including illness, family, and Christianity. Despite the religious and spiritual nature of the visit and the content of the conversation, it wasn’t until I began to close our visit with prayer that I had an epiphany about Jesus. Jesus says, in the Gospel of Matthew, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (18:20 NRS). So I knew Jesus had been there with us, and I knew that it has been sacred time together. But then it crystallized for me that, I didn’t bring Jesus with me into that room, nor was Jesus just hanging out in there, but that it required both myself and the member equally to incarnate Christ. I could have no more done it on my own, than that member could. We needed each other. I knew this intellectually, but now it was clear as a day.
This is exactly why we are called to be in community, to live in community. It’s not just that we need to be around other people, or have access to their resources, but that we need them. They need us. We need each other, because when we gather we are in the presence of Christ, whom everyone needs. Why does Christ appear to us in this way? I do not know, but I know that he does, according to his word. It was a very real presence for me, and I believe that church member would agree. So the next time you are with other Christians, take a moment to realize how vital they are for you. They are a necessary connection to the Lord Jesus Christ. Be thankful that God has made it that available, that accessible for us. All it takes is just one other Christian, and Christ is there. It is hard to believe that something so profound, so divine could be accomplished so easily, but it’s true. After all, that was the point of God coming to us in Jesus anyway; to be Immanuel, God with us. And he certainly is.
(Image courtesy of cacina.wordpress.com)