Thursday, November 17, 2005
donuts and coffee
What is ‘fellowship’ all about? It seems that for some churches it’s just an excuse to drink cheap coffee and a stale donut on the church patio. It’s a way for people to feel connected. We gather around together and talk about NOTHING… we never really talk about each other so we leave church feeling connected (sometimes not) and saying ‘I love my church.’ It’s easy to love, with the kind of love that loves because it makes me feel good, the love that I feel for ice cream; when I don’t really know someone. I love my church because I don’t really know it and if I got to know it, it wouldn’t make me feel good all the time, I wouldn’t love it.
We live in a society that loves to bounce from one thing to another, it loves to shop. This consumer culture has infiltrated the Church too. Have you ever heard the phrase “church shopping?” People bounce from church to church looking and searching, the way they’ve been taught to, to find the church that caters to their wants. We love what makes us feel good the problem is that’s not always what you need.
We need to build a perspective that’s oriented around a different kind of love; the love that happens “together;” a ‘together perspective.’ With this perspective and a perspective that holds the Kingdom of God as a higher priority than the ‘kingdom of Wes,’ church will make more sense and maybe it’ll even make me feel good. But if the focus lye’s on my feeling and not our feelings then I will always be disconnected with a shell around my heart. I keep the shell because if anyone ever gets in or if I ever get in someone else’s shell I’m going to have to see and reveal some things that I just don’t want to deal with. A Together Perspective opens the shell and alleviates some of the pain in doing so because it understands that the opening (sometimes cracking) of the shell is ultimately a healing process. Also, the healing is not just for me, it’s for all the people who I’m together with. If it’s all about ME fellowship is losing, if it’s about US fellowship is winning. The key to fellowship is “together.”
A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 44And all the believers met together constantly and shared everything they had. 45They sold their possessions and shared the proceeds with those in need. 46They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity—47all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved.
When you are in fellowship you will have to give something, you’ll have to lose but if you have a Together Perspective you’re actually losing nothing because it’s going to someone who needs it.
Sometimes fellowship is about opening up and possibly feeling some pain for the sake of healing. Sometimes fellowship is about getting to know the church and sometimes (here’s the fun part) it’s about just enjoying each other and celebrating together all the good that should be celebrated. This idea of celebration was key in Hebrew spirituality. There were even laws that people should celebrate. In the Torah there are laws about feasts. The Jewish people had feasts where they would just get away with the people who were closest to them and just rest and tell stories and enjoy each other. They didn’t go on vacation so they could put on their earphones and get a tan. Now, being alone is good sometimes, it can be healthy but with the kind of self seclusion we subject ourselves to we are missing out on so much. When was the last time you just got away with your favorite people and enjoyed them? And I’m not talking about the after church on the patio type of enjoyment; I’m taking about really enjoying someone, all of them.
There’s a lot to this thing called fellowship, but the key is doing life together with a Together Perspective.