Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help. Again, if two lie together they keep warm; but how can one keep warm alone? And though one might prevail against another, two will withstand one. A threefold cord is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NRSV)
(Jesus said): “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” Matthew 18:20 (NRSV)
Sometimes when we study the Bible we make the mistake of thinking that the Old Testament was the “old law”- before Jesus- and that the New Testament is the “new law”- after Jesus. The truth is that both the New and Old Testaments are about Jesus, and that He is revealed throughout Scripture. The truth about Jesus is that He has always been, is now, and always will be.
Human beings were not created to be alone, or even to operate in a simple “me-n-Jesus” relationship. It is a wonderful thing to know Jesus and an immeasurable blessing to trust in His salvation, but it is important to remember that most of His teachings focused on how His followers should engage the world around them. We were meant to live and operate in community with other human beings, as comforting (or disturbing!) as that truth is.
Martin Luther taught that Christian people – Jesus followers- were to be “little Christs” out in the world, and that our primary vocation and purpose is to be as Christ where ever we are and in whatever we do for a living. Sometimes it’s hard to see how our professions are part of our life in Christ, but God doesn’t compartmentalize our lives the way that we tend to. There really is no abstract thing called a “spiritual life.” Our spirituality is part of everything that we are and everything we do. God is with us in and through our entire lives- even the parts that we might want to keep separate to ourselves.
We experience the life of Christ most profoundly and tangibly in our relationships- our friendships, our marriages, our families. It is telling that Jesus says He is most present when two or three are gathered in His name- and He echoes the Teacher of Ecclesiastes (most likely King Solomon) who had pointed out centuries before that “the threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
When we as Jesus followers come together in His name, He is there with us in a powerful and profound way.
Do we know the presence of Christ in our relationships, and if not, why not?
How is Jesus with us in our workdays, and how is He present in the work that we do?