September 10 2017

 

Rom 13:8-14

Mt 18:15-20

 

As an ambassador represents a nation so a person’s name represents that person. To act in someone else’s name is to act on that person’s behalf. To gather together in someone’s name is to gather together in that person’s presence either literally or figuratively. When Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them,” he was saying that whenever his disciples gather together in his name his Spirit is there in their midst – actively present guiding their decision making and finding expression in their prayers. But, in our weakness, we do not always follow his leading and in our praying we do not always pray under the inspiration of his Spirit. That is why we need exhortations like Romans 13:8 and 14 and a repentant heart. However our failures should not blind us to the fact that Christ can and does act through us. We can be used to accomplish his purposes. We are called to be his hands and feet, agents in his service. This is true for each one of us individually, but it is also true for us collectively as a church. When two or three or more are gathered together, Christ is with us seeking to guide and enable us in worship and in prayer, in living and proclaiming the presence and reign of God, enabling us to give voice to his purposes and intention. Not with arrogance, nor with an air of superiority, are we to do this, but in humility, aware of our weaknesses and pointing always away from ourselves to him whom we serve. With all its failures, the Church is still the agent of Christ’s continuing ministry in the world.  That doesn’t mean that everything that the Church does is Christ-inspired, but it does mean that within the Church the Spirit of the risen Christ is present and active, and when being true to his name reflects the values of God’s realm: “Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

 

  • Give examples of ways in which a person’s name can be used to represent that person either for good or for evil.
  • Make a list of occasions when we gather together in a person’s name.
  • How can we tell what is of Christ and what is not of Christ in the Church?
  • How does the Church live out its role as the agent of Christ’s continuing ministry in the world?