Real Fellowship

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We sometimes like our fellowship in small doses. We love being around other Christians if we can only arrange to have them available on tap. Turn it on when we want, and turn it off when we want.

This is why weekend retreats are sometimes attractive. We get a good dose of other people, but not so much as to make it wearisome. We also fellowship in artificial settings, with the rules laid out beforehand, and with everyone having a pretty good idea of when they are supposed to go home.

But life in Christian community goes far beyond this. When we live together, try to do business together, borrow one another’s lawn mowers, watch one another’s kids, we discover that fellowship across the board is difficult. In fact, it is so difficult that it is a central part of our discipleship, of our sanctification.

Now the difficulty is not that God has forgotten His promises. After all, the Lord said that His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. And this is why it is difficult—we want it to be difficult and God gives it to us simply. “Here.” He says. “Love Me, and love your neighbor.”

The difficulty that Namaan the Syrian had was in coming to grips with how easy the requirement was. If the prophet had told him to climb the highest mountain in the world, he would have done it. But to just . . . wash?

Here we are, assembled to worship God. Our lives are intertwined, which is as it should be. Sometimes things that are intertwined get themselves tangled. That is not as it should be, but it is to be expected. Don’t flee from it. Don’t run away frightened. Stay. Untie the knot. Give it to God. Laugh about it.

Life together, koinonia, fellowship in Christ, is not supposed to be one perpetual weekend retreat. It is far better than that, and provides many more knots on your head.

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