Daily thoughts on aesthetics and theology, and the entire world in between.

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The church at the end

When I was younger, I thought Jesus was referring to church starts (nowadays we call them church plants -- quite an organic term) when he said: Where two or three are gathered, there I am in the midst.

Just two or three. A nice little way to start. As you build up steam -- as you get your mission statement right, calculate the demographics of your neighborhood, come up with the right programs, and perhaps just a little blessing from heaven -- you'll grow, and become a mega-church.

It's like the kid who gets his first job: "Well, I'll be making five bucks an hour to start...", not doubting that the pay will be a lot more later on.

Just two or three in my name -- to start.

But what if "two or three" describes the condition of a church at the end of its trajectory, not the start of it? What if that is what Jesus meant?

What if, after all you've gone through, you're just left with two or three?

Two or three who know you, really know you, and you them?

Two or three who pray for you, and you them?

Two or three to be accountable to.

Two or three who are the human expressions of shelter in a storm. (That is what the early church was -- and still is in many places in the world: a secret shelter for God's people in the midst of storms most of us could not imagine. Those churches did not have latte stands in the foyer, or bowling alleys).

Over the years I've often looked at my "two or three" and have been discouraged. I'd look beyond them to more, because I thought the proof of blessing comes with more. I expected the two or three to become twenty or thirty, two hundred or three hundred.

But the three hundred have never come.

And I am ever more thankful for the two or three.


Matthew 18.19-20 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.


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