In Matthew 18 Jesus is talking about the importance and power of His followers being connected with other Christians in their faith. Among those words He says, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there with them” (vs. 20). I will often point to the importance of what He is saying here in the beginning our worship gatherings. Other places in scripture assure us of God’s presence everywhere, all the time, so it is significant that Jesus would point out His particular relationship to us when we are with others in His name.
As Christians we celebrate, learn about, and follow a triune God. Our loving Heavenly Father sent His Son to speak God’s love into our lives, and to invite us into intimate relationship in this life and for eternity. Jesus knew it would be difficult for us to hold on to Him when His physical presence left the earth to sit on heaven’s throne, so He gifted us with the Holy Spirit. And because we are made in the image of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we like God, are created to be in community with others. Almost immediately when the Holy Spirit comes in Acts 2, the Spirit gifted us with the Church—a place for us to be in deep community in the name of Jesus.
There are many ways in the Church that God has given us as gifts to help us to connect, grow, and journey together. Even when we practice these gifts on a regular basis we can too often miss how God desires for us to grow closer to each other as we grow closer to Him. In our series Together Strong we will consider some of the ways that we journey with each other in the faith, and what specific ways the Spirit invites us closer to God through involvement at Bergen United Methodist Church.
I believe wholeheartedly that the only way for us to live God’s will for our lives as Christians is to be a committed part of a local church community. Nowhere in scripture do we find a vibrant, growing person who practices a solitary relationship with God. When we see prophets alone and comforted by God it is accompanied by tragedy because God’s people had rejected the loving correction to come back to Him. On the other hand, when we see people seeking the face of God and living Spirit-filled lives, others are drawn and impacted by that. If Jesus is the Lord of our life we must be in Christian community.
Together Strong is a series for all of us. It doesn’t matter if we were born into families involved in Bergen UMC and can count our faithful participation by decades, or if we are walking in the door for the first time this Lenten season. We will reflect on who we are together and where God is leading us.
We will also celebrate the way that God has, is, and will move by His Holy Spirit in our midst. We will center ourselves in Christ at his table for communion on March 1. On March 8 we will send out the group from our church that is visiting the Holy Land the 11-22, and bring new people into God’s family through baptism. We will also lift up the importance of joining others for worship to our faith and connection in community. The series will culminate with the opportunity to either become a member for the first time or to renew our membership promises here at Bergen United Methodist Church on Easter Sunday, April 5.
As a church we cannot be who God is calling us to be without your support, love, and faithfulness to Christ. As individuals, none of us can be who Christ is calling us to be without being committed to a local church family. Our mission is Following Jesus, Together, and Sharing Him with Others. When we gather in Jesus name, as part of a devoted community of disciples, we are Together Strong.
Because of Grace,