There is a reason that Jesus says, "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there Am I in the midst of them." (Matthew 18:20) It is the praying people of God who form a church; and, it is people who invoke God's presence with their prayers, supplications, and submittal to God's will. We have all seen empty boarded up churches in complete disarray across our nation; God is not sitting in those churches waiting for people to show up. We have also seen storefront churches with only 20 people praising and worshiping, no matter what some of us may think about their choice of venue, God is in the midst of them. It is the people who invoke the presence of God.
Of course, the problem in the church is also the people. We bring our egos, issues, past experiences, pretense, and fear with us when we gather together. Sometimes not completely understanding that those are the very things we need to leave at the door of the church before we enter. Our church is supposed to be a refuge, a place where we gather to invoke God's presence. Not because we cannot invoke God's presence in the park, or in our homes, or in our closet, but because, we have set aside a specific place to invoke reverence, worship, praise, and hope. It is also a place where non-believers, because of the presence of believers, can feel, see, and /or hear the presence of God; not because of the place, but because of the people.
The church I currently attend, originally built in the 1880's by first-generation German Lutherans, was left boarded up and unattended for years. Afterwards, it was a community theatre and neighborhood gathering place left in complete disarray for almost 15 years, before it was bought by our congregation. Although the ground it sits on is hallowed ground, God did not sit in it waiting for the people. He may have led our founders to the site they prayed for, but, He was with the people, not the building.
Architects will tell you if a building is boarded up, the building will decay much faster than if people were in it using its doors, floors, and walls. Even in decay, with people in it, it will last longer. There is something very special about the presence of God’s people. God has hidden a secret treasure map deep within the recess of our hearts for us to find Him. Let us gather together, because together we invoke His ultimate power in unity to combat evil. However, even then, understand that you in your solitude, through Jesus Christ, have a direct conduit to God. L.
Study Reference: Jeremiah 31:32-34
From:"Within YOU." In The Master's Hands: 365 Daily Devotions For Everyday Living.
Copyright © 2014 by Lavona E. Campbell