Sermon, September 6, 2020

The “Blessing Track” for this Labor Day Weekend is, “I Heard the Voice of Jesus say, come unto Me and rest.”  Enjoy,  https://youtu.be/XUVCpF8-VuE

Transforming Presence – Transformed Lives

It never ceases to amaze me the unconditional claims and the many categorical pledges Jesus makes about His love, His approach to ministry, and His presence in the world.

Today we hear Jesus saying, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them,” (Matthew 13:20).

Jesus does not say that He will only be in the midst of those who fast three days or those who pray long and hard, or among those who give all their money for charitable work.   Do not take me wrong– It would be great if all of us would commit ourselves to doing just so.  And I am sure that Jesus would cheer us on the way!

But what Jesus promises is that He would make his presence known to us whenever we welcome Him into our lives without any other qualification– For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there.

Now that is a promise!  And if we take it seriously, it may turn into an unexpected life-changing promise.

I believe that there is no better word for this time of isolation and social distancing than to hear our Savior’s words.  Yes, of course we miss the fellowship, the singing, and the worship experience that we so much enjoy when we meet in our church buildings.

But it is comforting to know that even at home – or wherever two or three are gathered, even 6 ft apart – Jesus’ promised presence will be real.

But there is more.  Christ presence, as He promised, was not reserved to any particular denomination or community of faith.  Indeed, if the Gospel account is to be taken seriously, Jesus may invite himself and to make His presence known even among those who we may not consider “up to par.”

Jesus will make his presence known not only when we have a quorum of two or three, but even in the context of our own personal life– “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20), which is, in its own way another amazing and unconditional promise.

So, it is important to reckon that long before we reach the point of “When two or three are gathered together,” the transforming power of Christ is already working in us.

The radical and liberating love of God allows us to love him without asking anything in return and placing our whole trust in the divine love, grace, and mercy of Jesus.  Thus, from self-centered finger-pointers we are transformed into bearers of the good news of grace, mercy, and reconciliation.

The fact and the good news is that God loves us all.  Jesus will make his presence known unconditionally, no matter which side of any argument we may find ourselves.  There are no favorites – for “No one is righteous— not even one,” (Romans 3:10).

God loves us all.  Jesus came to be a servant of us all.  He, the Son of the Living God had no problem in picking up a towel and a basin and wash the feet of his disciples.  So, it will do us good to keep our feathers under control.

Finally, God loves us all and He has promised to be with each one of us until the end of time.  Let us remember that all the commandments are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Romans 13:9)… Yes!  Even “that” neighbor!

Loving Savior, you made your presence known in the intimate fellowship of two or three souls.  Help us to open the door of our hearts and minds to your love and so kindle the fire of your love in us that we may become servants of all and masters of none.  Amen.

Fr. Gustavo,
The Rev. T. G. Mansella, Vicar
St. David’s Church
PO Box 125
11291 West River Road
Aylett, VA 23009-0125
+1 804 496 1002