Matthew 18:20 "For where two or three are gathered in my name there will I be among them."
This was a bible verse shared with those of us that attended the Diocesan Convention last week. I have heard it before and never really given it much thought. It had not, until recently, stayed with me for more than the time it took to hear it in church. But something resonated with me this week. The thought of what community means and how it relates to the children here at St. James and my own little ones at home.
As I listened to the Bishop and what he said about community I got to thinking "What does this really mean, this beautiful verse that calls us to gather together?" I was reminded of an idea one of the Godly Play trainers gave me when she was here in August. The idea is simple. When you are gathered together with your family at the dinner table you ask each person what the highlight of their day was, and what the low point of their day was. Each person is given the opportunity to share, and plenty of time to do so. It is especially meaningful for my family, because with three children 7 and under, we have a tendency to talk over each other. It really allows everyone to share something that has been bothering them and let it go before bed time, or share a small joy that would have otherwise gone un-noticed. So that night I went through the usual question of highlights and low points and there wasn't much to report, so I moved on and asked another open ended question. I asked the children "I wonder what you think Jesus really meant when he said "For where two or three are gathered in my name there will I be among them?" I wonder questions also come from Godly Play and are wonderful because they invite the children to speak rather than being directly put on the spot.
The responses I got from my children were profound and have changed the way I look at Matthew 18:20. One said "What Jesus meant was that no matter where you are, or how much you worry, or how sad you are, if you are together he will be with you and everything will be okay." another said " God can love us better when we love each other." And then the third cried out " I love my family!"
The children truly show us the way. If we are willing to listen when they speak we open the opportunity to hear the voice of God. So I encourage this activity of asking children the open ended questions. It shows your children you value their ideas and feelings, and allows you to connect with them on a deep and profound level.
Peace be with you.