Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Our Place Of Worship

Matthew 18:20

For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.

RayMcDDo we remember the childhood hand song about church? The children’s rhyme went like this – Here’s the church, and here’s the steeple, Open the door and see all the people. With our hands we interlocked our fingers and put our pointer fingers up to signify the steeple. Our thumbs made up the doors and when we opened the doors (move out thumbs) – we could see all the other fingers and we wiggled them to show all the people.

In this simple rhyme we might think that church is a building and has a steeple (and many did in the days of this nursery rhyme). But we know (at least I hope we do) that the church is the people – not the building. We often say we are going to church (a location) to worship God – when we actually might be more accurate saying – we are going to join with the church and worship God. The people are the church.

In today’s passage we read that where two or three gather in Christ’s name – Christ dwells with them and thus the church exists. Here is today’s passage in partial context. Matthew 18:15–20 – 15 If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector. 18 “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. 19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

This is a section on church discipline – the words of our Lord Himself. He is telling us when a brother or sister sins against us we should strive to solve the issue amongst ourselves. Our first course of action is to go directly to the person who has offended us and try to work it out. Next – if the person will not make things right – we are called to take a witness or two. If the issue is still not resolved – we are to take the person before the church. The church is called to solve their issues in house so to speak. God has given the church the power to bind and loose the things of God. It is in this context that Jesus says – wherever two or more are gathered and agree – in the Body of Christ – Christ is present.

Often congregations have concerns over the location of worship. It is nice in some settings to have a sanctuary – a set aside space for worship – but it is not necessary. Any place where two or more gather is a place set aside – because Christ has promised to be there! Tomorrow – rain or shine – I will marry a young couple in an open field surround by their friends – many who are brothers and sisters in Christ. We will worship God in an open field as we unite this couple. I’ve worshiped in gymnasiums – in arenas – in barns – in bookstores – in open space at malls – in the woods – in my office – in my car – and the list could go on.

When we get hung up on the place – we might just be taking our eyes off the one we are supposed to be worshiping. If two or three gather and agree in Christ – Christ is present and worship can occur. Our place of worship doesn’t really matter – what matters is our hearts set on Christ!

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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October 7, 2016 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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