Now is such a time.
The ideas began around some discussions about Ffald-y-Brenin, a retreat center in Wales where not-yet-believers often encounter God just by walking onto the land. Could we know the presence of God in such a way in our home, in our gatherings, at work, that not-yet-believers would experience Christ just by being with us?
Each believer has the Lord dwelling within them by his Holy Spirit, but there is a difference when we come together. Then we have the Lord among us. Perhaps that is what characterizes church more than anything else–God among his people.
“For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” (Matthew 20:18)
Throughout the Scriptures, we see God’s desire is to dwell with his people.
From Genesis 3 we see that God walked and talked with Adam and Eve in the garden. Other passages from the Old Testament make this equally clear. For example:
Exodus 29: 45-46: Then I will dwell among the Israelites and be their God. They will know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them out of Egypt so that I might dwell among them. I am the LORD their God.
Leviticus 26:12 I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people.
In Ezekiel 37:27, the promise comes again: I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people.
We now live in the fulfillment of that promise. Even the very name, Emmanuel, means God with us (Matt 1:23). Here are some other Scriptures from the New Testament:
For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” (2 Corinthians 6:16)
And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Ephesians 2:22)
We know the theory: when we are together, God is with us. How can we live it out on a daily basis?
Are any of you thinking about this topic too? I’d love to hear some of your ideas.