Where two or three gather together

“For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” (Matthew 18:20)

I have to be honest.  I dragged myself to the office that day.  I wasn’t stressed, and there wasn’t a lot to do at my desk, but I needed to finish my weekly tasks.  However, I was low on energy.  I thought about putting off my office time and going in the next day, but even though I was less than enthused, I talked myself into just pushing through and getting things done. 

I was nearing the end of my tasks for the day when a visitor came into the office— a woman had an unexpected request.  “My mom is in the car,” she told us.  “I asked her where she wanted to go, and we thought we could stop here at church.”  She explained that her elderly mother had not been in church much since the Covid-19 pandemic began, and they just wanted to sit in the sanctuary, read devotions and maybe sing a little.  Somehow, I found myself offering to play a few songs for them, so together, we made our way to the sanctuary. 

The piano had been pushed to the back of the stage to make room for the band that had rehearsed the night before.  So I stepped up to the keyboard that was plugged in and ready to go, and I began to fumble my way through “Trust and Obey,” “I Love to Tell the Story,” and “How Great Thou Art.”  I didn’t always know all the words (sadly, I had left my prompter at home), and I was a bit rusty on the piano, but it was a beautiful little impromptu worship service.  It was just me, the mother and her daughter, and our church administrative assistant. 

It immediately brought me back to our pre-recorded services during the Covid-19 lockdown.  During the pre-recorded services it had been me, our pastor, our videographer, and audio/visual tech, so our small number in the sanctuary that day was very similar in nature to those sweet little worship times earlier in 2020. 

I belted out “How Great Thou Art,” and even put in the dramatic key change that I have grown to love.  It’s a marvel how quickly that musical muscle memory comes back, because it had been a long time since I had played that hymn all the way through.  It was a priceless, God-ordained, tender moment.  We listened as the daughter read devotions to her mother and then we prayed.  We also cried; I think all four of us cried.  I needed this mini Thursday afternoon worship service more than I can even put into words.  The last eighteen months have been extremely challenging, and I couldn’t believe the spark of energy, rejuvenation, and renewal that worked through me just from having those twenty minutes together.  This had not been just for the elderly mother and daughter; it had been just as meaningful for me and our administrative assistant. 

I realized that God had truly brought all of us into that sanctuary that day.  And to think, I had almost delayed my trip to the office by one day.  This mother and daughter had not even planned to come to the church that day; it had been a last-minute decision. But clearly God knew what all four of us needed that day.  The Holy Spirit had clearly prompted each one of us and drawn us together for just that pre-ordained time.  Do you believe in divine appointments?  I certainly do, because I just experienced one.