Painful Fellowship

Everyone from the singles class at church was over. Suddenly we heard an eerie voice, “Go away, everyone go away!” Everyone stopped partying and began praying. I, instead, headed for a bedroom. I turned on the light switch, but it didn’t work. Charlie was standing in the dark, gesticulating madly. Was he armed with a knife? I couldn’t tell in the gloom. Slowly I walked into the blackness, speaking comfortingly, and praying that he had not busted the light bulb in the lamp just beyond him. As I got close, he began to calm and I was able to restore glorious light.

Slowly, he calmed and expressed how he had stood at the party and been ignored and felt shunned. Privately, I wasn’t surprised, Charlie looked like someone worth not knowing. There was nothing deformed, but he never managed to dress himself neatly, nor were conversations with him filled with anything interesting. After I listened and calmed him, I went out, thanked them fro praying, and announced that the crisis was over. This, though, had put a Buzz-kill on the party, and soon everyone left.

I was left, ruminating on the nature of Christian fellowship. When we gather in a group and have “fellowship,” but it is no different than non-Christian fellowship, is it really fellowship? In our fellowship, do we have to maintain our walls like this castle to protect our sensitive core?  Would Jesus have made a bee-line for the one in the area who was suffering? In 2 Cor 6, fellowship is compared to being bound together, harmony, and agreement. I was once at an outdoor concert. We walked around listening to a variety of musical groups. One had no one listening. We listened as long as we could but the disharmony in their voices was painful. Harmony is pleasant like a barbershop quartet. A marriage (bound together) where you see years of joy is something everyone wants to be around. Christian fellowship is one where we build each other up, especially the parts with least honor, like a fat tummy, and feel safe to tear down our walls. (1 Cor 12:22-25)

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