This week we are looking into the idea of “fellowship”. It’s not a word that we commonly use in any other circumstance than the church, and so it’s meaning can get completely misunderstood, or potentially just not known. Let’s check out what it actually means:

Reading

Hebrews 10:24-25

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Two are better than one,

because they have a good return for their labor:

10 If either of them falls down,

one can help the other up.

But pity anyone who falls

and has no one to help them up.

11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.

But how can one keep warm alone?

12 Though one may be overpowered,

two can defend themselves.

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

1 John 1:7 

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

Dictionary definition:

“friendly association, especially with people who share one’s interests.”

Reflection

Fellowship is a word that I think just sounds like a “Christianism” – a word that’s only used by Christians, which puts me off using it… but actually it’s really important. As the dictionary definition says:

“Friendly association, especially with people who share one’s interests” 

It’s not actually solely for Christina use, anytime that someone meets up with their friends, and has a chat, or plays football or whatever, that’s Fellowship! 

When we search the bible for the biblical meaning of fellowship it’s pretty much the same (always encouraging!) The writer of Hebrews puts it so nicely, and especially after the year we’ve all had: 

Don’t give up meeting with people who believe what you believe, instead get together and encourage each other. (Paraphrase my own)

After a year of not knowing when we will be able to see friends again, or family, or go to church, or anything, it’s so refreshing to see the bible pointing out to us not to give up on seeing each other when we are able. Don’t just let those rhythms of seeing people slip by. We are are designed to live in community, in (dare I say it?) Fellowship with one another. 

Looking all the way back to the very beginning of the bible, in Genesis chapter 2 verse 18 God said: 

“It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

We were never supposed to go on this journey of life on our own; we weren’t supposed to exist as a singularity, but with other people. The Church therefore is no different. Of course you can worship on your own; you can pray on your own, you can do all the elements of church on your own, except Fellowship. You can’t spend time with others on your own. 

Yes, all the other “elements of faith” are really important, but so is this one. There doesn’t have to be anything special to it, it can literally be going to the park with a few friends to kick a ball around, but it is so important for us all. Get together with people who have the same beliefs as you, and spend time with them. 

Sometimes we can find ourselves with friends who have slightly different beliefs to us, and that’s good too; I can remember a lecturer saying to us once “if you don’t have any friends who are non-christians, you’re doing it wrong”. It’s always stuck with me. However, if you have friends who are dragging you down a path that you feel doesn’t fit with your faith, then perhaps it’s best to spend less time with those people, and more time with those who are doing the things that do sit right with your faith. 

As the writer of Ecclesiastes says in the passage above, it’s so much easier for people to survive in numbers.

It’s the same with our faith. Check out the reading from 1 John. Our faith will survive more easily if we get together with people who have the same faith. 

So now that churches are able to start re-opening their doors, and youth clubs are begging to restart. Let’s get together. Let’s enjoy Fellowship. 

Prayer

Lord, I thank you for my friends. I pray they you would help me to be as good a friend to them as I can be, supporting them and helping them to be the best versions of themselves, as they help me. If I have any friends who aren’t good for me, please help me to say no to them things that upset you, and instead turn to the things that please you. Amen. 

Sum it up

Fellowship isn’t scary, it’s just about spending time with people who believe what you believe. It’s relaxing, it’s comforting, it’s joyful. We need it for our faith to survive; so let’s get together with our friends and just spend time together. 

Weekly Challenge

This week why not intentionally get some friends together; now that the restrictions are easing and we can meet more people more easily, get together with a group of people who make you feel good, and are give you joy and a sense of peace.

St Mary’s Church

12 East Street

Billingshurst

RH14 9PY

01403 782332