Where Two or Three Are Gathered
David Brock of Redmond, OR, USA
For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them. -Matthew 18:20
“Where two or three are gathered, there is politics.”
“Where two or three are gathered (especially three!), there will inevitably be conflict. Two will disagree with one, and tensions will follow. Guaranteed!”
You’ve heard the tongue-in-cheek derivations on the phrase. Maybe you’ve invented a few yourself. Feel free to share your own!
A more common and expressive use of the phrase, however, is one often heard in small congregations, retreats, or priesthood classes where we hoped for many participants but only a few showed up. We reassure ourselves that no matter the number, no matter the early disappointment at low attendance, if gathered in God’s name for God’s purposes, God will be present among us.
I’ve never found the promise to go unfilled. God keeps promises. God is always there among us. Without exception.
As important as this scripture is to us as a community, we are likely missing some of the meaning if we are not reading it in the setting in which Matthew shares it-a time of difficulty, a time of division, a time of broken promises.
A few years ago I sat with three close friends who were suffering because of an action taken by one of the three. The action had caused deep pain in the lives of several people and broken a precious sense of trust among them. We gathered in a small room in silence, with prayer, with a wish for healing. It was a difficult, truth-telling time. It was painful for the three of them and for me. But God was among us. The encounter with the One who forgives and heals and restores was unforgettable and transformative.
Whenever two or three people truly seek reconciliation and ask God about it, God will do all God can do to grant their wish. Relationships will be restored. When we are reconciled to God, we become new. When we are reconciled with a sister or brother, we become new. The relationship does not go back to the way it was before the wounding or conflict. In truly reconciled relationships we journey into new ways of being with one another.
“…all things in God and God in all things” (Mechthild of Magdeburg).
Reflecting on Presence
Breathe deeply and become present to the Presence with you here and now. Take a few moments in the silence to reflect prayerfully on the following questions:
Where have you been aware of God’s presence in your life?
What is God’s invitation to you in this story?
How do you desire to be more open to God’s presence and invitation tomorrow?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.