by Calven Celliers
For me personally, one of the most difficult aspects of the 2020 World Pandemic, and the ensuing – yet necessary – lockdown, was the fact that I was not allowed to socialise, and most especially that I was not allowed go to Church. In our individualistic society, some may believe that we are better off by ourselves, but being a ‘peoples person’ I definitely believe that life is better together! Scripture reinforces that we are created for community. God created us not as isolated beings, but to live our lives with others.
Better together is such a fantastic slogan. It simply means that when we share our lives with other people, we thrive! Life is meant to be shared. I’m totally convinced that God intends for us to experience life together. Even in the perfect, sinless environment of Eden, God said, “…It is not good for man to be alone…” (Genesis 2:18NIV)
We all know of and appreciate the benefits of time out, momentary periods alone with God, but in terms of living out your walk with Jesus ‘the Bible knows nothing of solitary saints or spiritual hermits isolated from other believers, and deprived of fellowship.’ (Rick Warren)
While your relationship with Christ is personal, God never intends it to be private. As Christians we are called to belong, not just believe. In a worldly sense, community is often thought of in terms of a club formed around a specific interest or cause. But the church is far greater than that. The nature of our relationships with each other as Christians is described in the New Testament as koinonia, a Greek word often translated as communion, which also means fellowship, participation and partnership. I seem to think that for many today the word fellowship has lost some of its biblical meaning. Even in church, we have fellowship luncheons that are held in fellowship halls and we get together for fellowship in our fellowship groups. When we overuse a word, it can lose its meaning.
These days fellowship generally refers to casual conversation, socialising, food and fun. But real fellowship, koinonia, is experiencing life together. It includes unselfish loving, honest sharing, practical serving, sacrificial giving and sympathetic comforting.
The variety of uses in the New Testament reveals that koinonia involves a deeper level of fellowship than an informal social gathering. The essential element of koinonia is participation. That’s why when new members are taken into fellowship at New Harvest we clearly state that the Lord is entrusting these folk to this congregation, and we ask existing members if they will receive them as brothers and sisters in Christ, welcoming them into this spiritual family, loving them, caring for them and being open to receive the Lord’s ministry to you through them.
In heaven we will enjoy God’s family forever, but first we have some work to get through, in the here and now, to prepare us for an eternity of loving. God trains us by giving us “family responsibilities” as we faithfully serve Him by loving and serving each other. In closing I want to say how truly blessed I have been to hear of the many testimonies of how members of the New Harvest family have loved, cared for and supported each other during this very difficult year.
Relationships are what life is all about. (Rick Warren)
God bless you my Church family, I love doing life with you!
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Thank you Calven. It is so true people are not meant to live in isolation. Everytime we welcome new members I weep when the congregation stand up and the new members are entrusted into our care. I love the way you often use flowers or plants in your writings to illustrate a point. This one is particularly beautiful the cluster together is exquisite and the single flower looks lost and forlorn.