If you were watching our live stream on Wednesday night, you would have seen and heard us talk about “church”, and we used the Greek word “Koinonia”. And we acknowledged that this can be translated as “fellowship”, with a sense of “togetherness.”
The thing that struck me, though, was the sheer scale of it – that this “togetherness” was the coming together of people who really wouldn’t have wanted to – except through Jesus.
There was a divide between Jews and Gentiles that many would have thought impossible to bridge – but Jesus provides a togetherness that isn’t based on geography, on history or on prejudice. A fellowship that is somehow bigger than simply getting on with each other…
Of course, that leads us into the realm of relationships – as brothers and sisters (God calls us his family) – and relationships don’t always run smoothly! “Fellowship” does not mean “easy.” Fellowship does not mean ”meeting up every now and again”. It doesn’t simply mean “working alongside” either.
That word “fellowship” hides a whole significance of being God’s people, together. With all that that entails – effort, joy, suffering, growth, and so on. As always, when we start talking in language to describe God’s plans, then we become overwhelmed by the scale of it, the beauty of it - and the extent to which it really should change our lives.
Being church is precious – knowing what it is to be part of a “fellowship” is really profound. Of course sometimes (because we’re people) we don’t grasp it, we don’t live it out quite as well as we should, and (basically) we sometimes mess up. And we don’t show fellowship quite as God would want it.
But then, we can realise that part of being in God’s family, part of being in his church – his ”koinonia” fellowship – is that we also share in his grace, his love, his forgiveness. So we aren’t held back by our mistakes – by his grace we can still be that fellowship, and move forward together.