Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the night watches!
Pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord!
Lift your hands to him for the lives of your children, who faint for hunger at the head of every street.

Lamentations 2:19 ESV

Monday, May 8, 2017

Fellowship is “More Than”

I was reading Acts 2 this morning and had looked up the meaning of fellowship, as in verse 42. It’s the word, koinonia. It means, simply put, just what a friend of mine wrote in an email to me later, "to walk together in the Christian life." It’s a partnership. It’s to be in community. It’s to actually live as the Body of Christ interconnected.
I wrote in my faith journal that we are called to live life together, not alone—contrary to our American individualistic society. We are to jointly participate in all of life as an intimate Body just as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit exhibit. This is a oneness that goes beyond Sunday coffee hours and occasional potlucks.
It's interesting that this word is also translated "contribution"—as in money, and "sharing"—as in the blood of Christ and as in doing good to each other. What a difference we'd see, what difference the world would see, if this were the "fellowship" of the Church. It’s so much more than!
Part of that “more than” means that corporate prayer is an essential part of that fellowship. It’s not an option.
Like we used to say when the ministry of Moms in Prayer was called Moms In Touch—it's being in touch with the Lord and each other at the same time through prayer. That type of “more than” is what gave the early Church boldness and an effective witness, especially during times of suffering. It’s what is needed in the Church today, especially for these times when following Christ takes courageous faith. We are a Body and we need each other.
In fact, Tony Evans wrote, “Connection in the body is necessary for function and for life, and it is essential if we are to leave a lasting impact and impression on our society and in our world.” Necessary and essential.
The author of Hebrews, the Holy Spirit, exhorts us with these words:
Let us consider how to inspire each other to greater love and to righteous deeds,
not forgetting to gather as a community, as some have forgotten, but encouraging each other, especially as the day of His return approaches.
Hebrews 10:24-25 The Voice

The commentators for The Voice had this to say:
Some people, for reasons only they know, choose to live their Christian faiths in isolation. When they do, they cut themselves off from the gifts, encouragement, and vitality of others. And perhaps, just as tragically, they deprive the church of the grace and life God has invested in them.
And that means the “more than” becomes “less than.”