For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.’
Gather – sunagó – to convene, to come together in a hospital way.
With them – in the midst (alt.trans) – mesos – middle, amongst, between.
In this verse Jesus is giving us an assurance that no matter how few people gathered in his name he will be there in the midst of them.
In the promises surrounding Jesus’s birth we are told that he is to be called Emmanuel – God with us!
God was no longer to be a remote presence from the people, he was to be with us in a personal relationship, as we can read in Genesis of God walking in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve.
Many interpret this verse linked to the previous one about gathering in prayer and although the principal I’m sure remains, the general context for the verse and the preceding couple of verses are to do with wrongdoing and sin within the community.
It may also relate to a part of Judaism law where Jewish councils required a minimum of three judges to decide on minor cases in the local community and this certainly relates to the context of the preceding verses.
A similar idea appears in the Mishnah which states but if to sit together and words of the law or spoken between them the divine presence rest between them.
This verse can also be seen as an exhortation to gather in Christ’s name, which to our modern society or sensibilities might just get as a few funny looks if we were out in the open and talking about Jesus or praying together, but at this point and with what was to come after Jesus is crucifixion it was a much more dangerous proposition.
Another possible connection is also the Jewish tradition that required a minimum of 10 people for official prayer services to take place.
In the dangerous and turbulent in world after Jesus’s death perhaps Jesus here he is looking forward to that time and encouraging his followers and his believers that even meeting with one other person or is sufficient for official worship thanksgiving gratitude prayer requests to God.
An aspect of the Jewish society regarding study of the Torah and the law which is not clear to us in our modern society is the regularity with which people gathered and discussed, studied, and debated, aspects of their religious teachings.
Study of God’s Word was not a quiet time experience with the individual and a scroll or the Bible.
God’s word was seen to be alive and impactful, therefore the voicing of the Word of God was just as important as attempting to gain an understand of the meaning of the words and how they would be applied to the individual’s every day life.
As creatives, particularly writers, artists, and musicians, are commonly seen when practising or to be found working as individuals, yet when we come together with other people have a like mind something unique is often formed.
This is very easy to see and understand where musicians are concerned.
Think about any musical collaboration between artists and often what comes out of that collaboration is something new and unique. It may contain elements of each musician but it becomes something more, something greater than the individual contributions to it.
Many of the great art movements formed through the meeting of artists, their debates, discussions of techniques, their appreciation of others’ works, and an attempt to create a new or unifying style.
In our current pandemic world it’s very difficult to meet safely in any numbers, yet there is much to gain even from communicating regularly with one or two other people in our artistic creative endeavours.
The same goes for our prayer life our spiritual existence.
We have many new technologies that allow us to meet with more than one person, so I encourage you to jump on whatever platform for you is easiest for you and keep communicating with those important people around you in your creative and spiritual life.