To kick off our “Ship of Fools” series – a conversation about the “ship” words so common in church life: fellowship, worship, discipleship, stewardship – we’re going to start firmly in our comfort zone: fellowship. In some ways, this is the least threatening of the “ship” words. After all, we’re pretty good at this. Jesus ate a lot of meals with his friends and so do we. But it is more than the potlucks and prayer breakfasts we might have grown up with and it is more than a gluten-free meal on a Wednesday night. A specifically Christian understanding of fellowship calls us to so much more than that.
The Greek word we translate as “fellowship” is koinonia. It is more often translated as “sharing.” Acts 2:42 tells us that those who were saved devoted themselves to teaching and fellowship, to breaking bread and prayers. Potlucks and prayer breakfasts? Only if you stop reading there. No, the first Christians “had all things in common (koinos); they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all as any had need” (vv. 44-45). Fellowship is a high bar.
Koinonia is also sometimes rendered as “communion.” This, of course, is a very special meal in the Christian tradition. Jesus had lived his life for his people and he knew that he would die for it. He gathered his friends around him to celebrate their time together, to mourn its ending, and to talk about who they might be afterward. Jesus had fought for them, healed them, fed them, and now he would die for them. Who must we be in the wake of fellowship like that? How can we take that meal and do any less?
Please join us this Sunday, 11am at Kidd Springs Rec Center, for conversation, fellowship, and a special service of the communion meal.