Friday, February 13, 2009

Matthew 18:20

If two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in My name, there I am in the midst of them.

I have heard that verse used to assure people that it's okay if only a few show up for church services. After all, God is still there with them. And that's true.

I have heard that verse used to support social activities at church, like dartball or potlucks or an outing to the roller rink. That's just totally taking the verse out of context, where the "agreement" and the "gathered" is clearly about bestowing the absolution on the penitent.

Pastor said during prayers today that he has heard this verse used to claim that God's will was being done whenever the church voted on matters of carpeting or refinancing the mortgage or whatever.

What I'd never heard (until today) was that there are two people together in the confessional, and they agree. That is, they CONfess. The sinner agrees with God about his sin. The sinner agrees with God about His remedy for sin. The pastor obviously agrees with God because he's the one speaking God's message. And so "what they agree upon" --that is, the forgiveness applied to the sinner-- will be done for them by My Father in heaven. Jesus is surely in that place where confession is heard and the absolution is spoken.

1 comment:

  1. My previous pastor and others have indicated the verse above hinges on "in My Name." Where are people gathered in Christ's name? Where he promises to to be in His Word and Sacrament. Therefore where 2 or 3 are gathered in my name refers to where Christ is present amongst us in His Word and Sacrament.

    Many do interpret this verse as God is with us whenever and whereever 2 or are gathered. TRue God is omnipresent, but where does He tell us he will be?