Monday, 5 November 2012

Two in your name

Here I am with another one of those events in my life where a penny finally drops. The head-knowledge finds its way to the heart. The head nods but at long last the eyes light up as well.

You know what I mean.
'Where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.'
Matthew 18:20
I went to a conference in London a while ago and there were 4,300 women in one room. It's the first conference of this type that I've ever been to and the only one where 4,300 people all sang to you with the help of two worship leaders whose music I play in my car. What a sound it was. A sea of hands lifted in praise of the living God. Eyes closed, tears on cheeks, hearts offered to you. The Holy Spirit was there in power and it was amazing.

I just loved it. If it was on again this weekend I'd be there like a shot. Actually, it's not that simple, as just to be there at all was a bit of a miracle for my friend and I, taking into account illness and childcare and car troubles, but that's another story, and one you're familiar with already, Lord. You were onto it.

What a great day. The atmosphere was wonderful and there was a tangible sense of you as we worshiped, prayed and listened to inspiring teaching. So many things, so many ideas, so much to try to hold onto as the excitement receded afterwards.

On the drive home in the car we tried to hang onto it. We discussed the things we'd heard and we tried out our new ideas. We bounced things back and forth. We had worship music playing and now and again we turned it up loud and sang along. We talked about you; about how much you love us and how much we love you. We talked about our imperfect lives and the difference you were making.

Lord, we met in your name, the two of us, and you were there. Just as present as when there were 4,300 singing their hearts out in your name. It was an amazing few hours' journey up the motorway. We sang, we talked, we listened and we prayed (in my case not the eyes closed hands together sort of prayer at 70mph, obviously), but we talked to you nonetheless. And you joined in the conversation.

We felt your presence in a number of ways. The worship that we gave you while travelling up the M1 from London to Derbyshire was just as special as in the huge auditorium with musicians and a big, big screen. It was a really precious time. We discussed ideas that made the hair rise on the back of our necks and sent a chill down our spines that we know is because of you. We talked about scripture and shared insights that occurred to us as we drove along. We shared very personal things about your Plan for our lives and how not to be discouraged or derailed by other people, by circumstances or by perfectionism. We talked about a ministry for women at our church, and we dreamed dreams that I believe you inspired us to dream. You were there.

'Where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.'

And you were.

It made me want to pray for all the people in all the other cars on the motorway. We queued in traffic; people in a sea of cars. What music are they playing? Anyone else thinking of you? Someone overtakes and I glance sideways and get a brief glimpse of someone in the driving seat, someone looking out of the passenger window. Are you invited into their car as well? I see someone on a bridge over the motorway walking their dog; who are they? Do they know you? I found myself smiling even as we passed some miles in silence.

I don't really know the difference between the way that you are with me always, wherever I am, whatever I do, even when alone, and the way you're with those who meet in your name. I wasn't surprised that we felt your presence so strongly; I've felt that same assurance of you now and again when there's just been me.

I don't think that you are only present when two or three are together, but I wanted to say thankyou for that special sense of you. For the feeling that you were right there. That you were enjoying the conversation; that you gave us your blessing. In your endlessly gentle way I realised halfway up the motorway that you were showing me something in my life that wasn't what you wanted it to be and I knew without a doubt that you had pointed it out.

Thankyou for gentleness and for laughter, for music and friendship and goosebumps in the presence of the Holy Spirit. For encouragement and inspiration and conviction.

It leaves me awestruck that the God of Creation joined us in my battered Citroen with a backseat covered in crumbs for a trip up the motorway on an overcast and drizzly day in October.

How amazing is that?


  1. What a privilege and a pleasure. Phil Wickham's Beautiful, the holy Spirit and te two of of the most powerful church experiences in a tin can on wheels whizzed up the motorway...who needs Holy Trinity Brompton! (well, maybe one day...)

  2. Indeed it was. I'm hanging onto it...

  3. Wow Helen, glad to find another UK sister xxx

  4. Amen, Florence! Maybe I'm not looking in the right place but I don't think that there are too many of us! Good to meet you.


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