Short Meditations on the Body of Christ: 11. A Body that fellowships
1 John 1:7 if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another.
There is something special that happens when Christians come together. It is a very different thing from what occurs when say a local club or organisation gathers. I never appreciated this so much as on one occasion when I went on a teaching trip to inner East Malaysia. The denomination we were serving made up our itinerary and gave us plane tickets to get to various places. On one of the first legs of this journey, to cut a long story short, we ended up in a village in the interior but an interpreter had not arrived. Local church people had identified us as we got off the small plane and taken us to their village where for the first few hours all communication was by sign language.
As we sat cross legged either side of a mat covered with food, eating with these believers, I have never felt more frustrated being unable to communicate freely with these believers who I knew had years before experienced revival. Yet there was something that flowed between us, something that united us, something that was special, even though we could not speak the same language. That ‘something’ was what Christians refer to as ‘fellowship’.
Put as simply as possible “fellowship” is about sharing your life with another Christian, and it is more than merely speaking; fellowship occurs when the Holy Spirit within us communicates a special unity that we have. You can sit in the same room with another Christian, you can be at of a Bible Study or even Prayer Meeting and you can remain separate and distinct – or you can fellowship. Fellowship occurs when you open your hearts one to another and it requires openness and honesty. When there is an openness to one another, the Holy Spirit is able to bring this special sense of unity, of oneness and this is fellowship.
This is the potential of this ‘body’ that is knit together by loving relationships, and empowered by the Holy Spirit. His presence in us is a remarkable thing that so much of the time we take for granted. He brings the revelation of who we are – or who we are not. I have walked into the presence of ‘church people’ and known instantly that there was not a single Christian believer there. I remember another time, in my very earliest days after I had been born again, when I went searching for a local church and sat in the mid-week Bible study and realised that in a group of about twelve, only the minister and I were truly Christians! His presence in us can bond us or divide us. Be aware of the wonder as fellowship takes place.