Matthew 18:20 – Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am among them.
This particular verse has always held deep meaning for me as a pastor. It rings especially true when I contemplate God’s presence in every heart, for a heart can only beat if God wills it to – and breathes life into its lungs. Indeed, God even intentionally and meticulously plants as a seed in every heart the Grace and Love that exists far beyond our human comprehension, giving meaning to our lives as our hearts are divinely purposed to serve as God’s place of operation within our world.
As a result, I have come to see this verse over the years as a reminder that wherever two or three HEARTS are gathered, there God is amongst us. It is God’s Love which is rhythmically beating as we gather in community around baptismal waters, sacramental meals, and favored hymns. It is God’s Grace which is gently flowing as we gather in service at food pantries, disaster zones, and homeless shelters. It is God’s Light which is brightly shining as we gather in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in prisons, hospitals and refugee settlements. God is present wherever our hearts gather, because I can truly see God outwardly in the ‘other’ – just as much as I can truly see God when I quietly turn inward within myself. Thus, although I may never quite wrap my mind around this, I also have come to know that my heart beats as one with the Heart of God itself, which remarkably means that my own simplistic little heart, which I so often take for granted from moment to moment, amazingly serves as a mirror reflection of the Loving Creator to all the world! What an awe-inspiring and beautiful thought this is!
So, on this day, I give thanks because God’s Heart has somehow been made into my life’s mission. I give thanks because our gatherings are somehow made to be holy by the presence of God in the heartbeat of our community. I give thanks because somehow I can see God in you, even as you see God in me. I give thanks, because wherever at least two or three of us gather together, God’s Heart pumps an incomprehensible Peace into these sacred moments, regardless of whether they be filled with sorrow, conflict or joy. I give thanks, because we are many, often feeble, hearts that yet are beating as one holy mission. I simply give thanks – to God’s Sacred Heart. Amen.
-Rev Jeffrey G Mikyska (pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Elgin, IL)