This past Sunday, Bert introduced a new mini-series on the book First John. In his sermon, he highlighted the idea of “fellowship” — a word so familiar in Christian circles. Commonly, we use this word as a substitute for the word “socialise” — “Let’s watch a movie and have some fellowship.” Yet the challenge that Bert gave us is the idea where fellowship is a time when we proclaim Christ to one another. We are to share our joys and burdens to one another and be encouraged, challenged and prayed for by our brothers and sisters. God is not a mere subject. Rather, God becomes realised in our conversations and, time and time again, the Word becomes flesh. Anything short of this is effectively atheism — the denial of the existence of God.
Now, as I was thinking about this I realised that there is an even more fundamental concern that needs to be raised: do we truly want fellowship? Or, putting it another way, do we truly want to hear God speak to us? Well, as Christians, we are trained to respond in the affirmative — OF COURSE we want God to speak to us. Yet, if this is true, why do we try to solve all our problems by ourselves? Why is it when we are in cell group or with other Christians that we never have a need (or, let’s say “desire”) to be prayed for? (The opposite is true too — when somebody shares their struggles, why don’t we pray for that person — then and there?)
Maybe we feel that others would not be interested. Or perhaps, they would not understand. Or maybe even more basic, we think we can handle it alone. I suppose if any of those thoughts are true, then we also believe that the Holy Spirit does not dwell in every believer. Because, if He did, He would be very interested in our lives and very able to understand and help. He is God after all.
To have a desire to proclaim Christ to others and to hear Christ proclaimed to me — this is exceptionally hard. I (Alex) serve in the church and teach and preach — how can I show my weaknesses? I guess that is the point isn’t it? That even as we reveal our weaknesses, we actually proclaim Christ even more. We proclaim of our utter need for God. And we submit our lives to the prayers of other broken and needy people.
I yearn for true fellowship.