Philippians 1:3-6 – I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (NIV)
Reading through the New Bible Commentary in preparation for writing my sermon I came across a couple of sentences which got me thinking. I read:
- Partnership is the usual New Testament word for fellowship, but fellowship is not just the comfortable experience of Christians enjoying one another's company. It is fellowship in the task of making the gospel known to others.
Like most Christians I know, when I speak of fellowship, I usually refer to the warm fuzzies which come when we all gather together for a Church supper or other social. In this sense we have great fellowship in our Church choir. We sing, joke, sometimes carry on to the chagrin of our organist and choir director, then we often go to the hockey player's donut shop for coffee and sweets afterward. We're more than a choir. We're a group of friends. But while this is usually what I think of when the word fellowship is used. It is not what St. Paul means when he uses that word. For St. Paul, fellowship equals partnership in spreading the Gospel of Christ. In this sense whenever we share Jesus with someone, we are engaging in fellowship. When we are partners in sharing the Good News that the solution to the world's problems is to be found in Jesus Christ, that is when we are truly fellowshipping with each other and with Jesus Christ. Fellowship is more than the warm fuzzy feeling engendered by hot cocoa and a donut after choir. It is sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ together as friends with our friends.
Prayer: Great God, we rejoice in Jesus' name for the fellowship to which you have called us. Make us bold partners sharing the Gospel of Grace with our friends and neighbours. Amen.