There is a beautiful story about the Thomas family, living in the Middle East for two years. Mark and Susan Thomas were on assignment for Mobil Oil. They found that the only drawback to living in the Middle East was the government restrictions on Christians gathering for worship or study together.
As Easter Sunday approached that first year, Mark and Sue decided to risk inviting some of their Christian friends to gather in a basement room in their home. They soon found a number of other people who were willing to take the chance to gather for prayer and singing, in spite of the real risk they would face if discovered by the police.
The day arrived, and Mark and Sue’s friends began arriving sporadically, so as not to attract attention. It was wonderful to be together, to listen to the story of that first Easter morning, and to sing “Jesus Christ Is Risen Today”, even without accompaniment.
And then came the sound of footsteps and pounding on the door of the room where they were gathered! Suddenly two officers and a detachment of police with guns drawn burst into the room! Quickly, the officers dispersed the group with warnings that if such a gathering occurred again, all present would be expelled from the country. The Christians left, grateful that there had been at least some time to share their Easter faith, and that there had been no arrests.
Meanwhile, the two officers returned to the police station to file their report of the incident. They quickly discovered that their recollections as to who was the leader of the group and how many persons were actually there differed greatly. The senior officer insisted that Mark was the leader since the group met at his house, but the younger policeman insisted on the leader being a man who had stood in the shadows, who had a radiant look on his face.
Nor did the two officers agree on the total number of men and women involved in the incident. The senior officer said he had counted a total of nine persons, but the younger officer was just as insistent that he had counted ten people in the room. Unable to agree, the two policemen left the station, with the intention of completing their report the following day.
That night the younger officer was going over the day’s events in his mind when he fell asleep. In his dreams, the man with the radiant countenance whom he remembered as the leader of the Christian group, spoke to him softly saying, “Where two or three gather in my name, there am I in their midst.
This shows us that there is nothing in this world is able to stop the power and truth of Easter. No power in this world; no matter how many laws against Christianity; no matter how much persecution and hostility against Christians; none of this is able to stop Easter.
And it also shows us that the risen Christ is always present among the worshipping, gathered community of two or more Christians met in his name, and meeting in fellowship around his word