See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name him Immanuel, which is translated “God is with us.” (Matthew 1:23 CSB)
Immanuel. One of the sweetest names to describe our God. It means “God is with us”.
Many times in my own life I’ve found comfort in this name. I’ve reminded myself when I’m nervous or when I’m stressed that “God is with me.”
But lately I’ve been thinking about how the name doesn’t mean “God is with me”. Certainly He is with me. In fact it’s better than that… He’s in me. We are united.
But the name means “God is with us”. Plural.
As much as there’s a personal dimension to my faith, there’s also a corporate dimension. WE is just as important as ME.
Jesus didn’t just die for MY sins. He died for OUR sins. Jesus didn’t just unite ME to Himself. He united ME to YOU and US to Himself.
We don’t enter a service on Sundays to close our eyes and imagine that “it’s just ME and GOD right now”. No. WE gather with others. WE come into His presence together. WE sing together. WE listen to God’s Word together. WE take the supper together.
When this begins to sink in, something changes. My faith can’t just be a private, personal thing anymore. It has to be connected to a community. It has to impact the way I live towards others. It makes ME concerned about WE.
My “closeness” with God, my “fellowship” with Him, is not primarily measured by how much I read my Bible, or how much I pray, or how “fed” I feel. It’s primarily measured by my love for the “US” God is with.
God is with US. So let’s… US be with US.