The end of summer is always bitter sweet for me. It means my daughter’s return to university, but my consolation is a long drive there, together, filled with conversation. One of the things she mentioned this time stood out to me:
‘I think one of the main things God used to establish my faith was people’s testimonies. Growing up, I heard so many powerful stories of God at work in people’s lives that I couldn’t deny that Jesus was alive.’
It was interesting that she mentioned that because I knew right away where she had heard all of those testimonies. It was at an annual retreat where we gathered with other churches for an overnight event. The ironic part is that this retreat was one of the toughest things we did all year.
I remember, as a young Christian, attending a newcomers meeting for a church I had begun to attend. I listened with interest as the pastor talked about the church’s priorities. I nodded in agreement as he talked about worship, evangelism, discipleship and prayer. But when he got to the word fellowship, I felt a disconnect. For me, fellowship was Christians eating donuts and drinking coffee and I just couldn’t understand how it could be important to God. It took many years for me to figure out what fellowship really is, but again and again it has been the means that God has used to sustain my faith, keep me grounded and help me thrive in my relationship with Jesus. I wonder whether you really understand what fellowship is and why you need it.
Questions can make hermits out of us, driving us into hiding. Yet the cave has no answers. Christ distributes courage through community; he dissipates doubts through fellowship. He never deposits all knowledge in one person but distributes pieces of the jigsaw puzzle to many. When you interlock your understanding with mine, and we share our discoveries, when we mix, mingle, confess and pray, Christ speaks.