“Although fellowship is a familiar piece of Christian jargon, we should not assume that we know what Luke means by the term. As the New Testament speaks of it, fellowship is deep, virile, and costly; too often today it is cheap and superficial. The higher we value our personal privacy and freedom from commitments, the shallower our grasp of fellowship will be-reduced to moments of idle chitchat over steaming coffee before or after a worship service.” Dennis E Johnson, The Message of Acts
It is so easy to fall into the pattern or habit of carrying on a number of casual conversations, never really getting beneath the surface of someone elses life or sharing what’s happening within your own. Fellowship is not just intimate disclosure, its loosing yourself in the life of others so much so that the very things culture identifies as your own possession becomes what you cheerfully give away to others in need who you see them not as ‘church members’ but family. Its leaving the shallowness of privacy behind and entering into the world of self-emptying. As Johnson says, fellowship “is deep, virile, and costly.”
I could add to Johnsons adjectives, fellowship is rare. But Luke in an almost idyllic description says the early community bubbled over with it. Their fellowship was so deep and beautiful that it literally overflowed into the streets and alley-ways of Jerusalem, eventually even into the lives of their fellow Jews who didn’t know Jesus as Messiah. Fellowship was part of the churches witness, the question left to the church today is how can it be part of her witness now?
Thoughts, suggestions, criticisms…
(Photographic art by DScott28604, piece entitled “Topeca Coffee/Cafe“)