7-Day Practical Faith Blog: The Discipline of Fellowship
Hebrews 10: 24-25
I was sitting in worship on Sunday, trying to follow my own advice from last week's blog post on the discipline of worship. I was exercising mental discipline to focus on God and on worshipping God, at the expense of other thoughts.
But I experienced something else in return. I received the sensation of all the other souls around me: friends who sat nearby that I knew were struggling with caregiving; people around the space who had their own silent stories that I did not know about. I felt spiritually connected to all of them and realized that this sensation of fellowship was also part of my worship.
We are meant to be in relationship with others; that is a primary reason for the church to exist. Jesus formed the church so that we could grow in community. Methodism founder John Wesley wrote of a "serious man" who approached him early in Wesley's adulthood and, among other things, told him, "The Bible knows nothing of solitary religion."
This is why we're called to be in fellowship with other Christians, and why fellowship is also a spiritual discipline. The Renovare Bible's spiritual formation section defines fellowship as "engaging with other disciples in the common activities of worship, study, prayer, celebration, and service, which sustain our life together and enlarge our capacity to experience more of God."
It takes discipline to meet together. It takes discipline to get out of bed and out of the house. It takes discipline just to meet with people, imperfect as they are. Sometimes you might even wonder if meeting with others is helping or hurting your religion!
But we are called to find our place in a fellowship of Christians. Hebrews 10: 24-25a reads:
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another.
We sometimes need that spur! We need that encouragement. We need the comfort of others. I have often said, "I don't know how people make it through life without a Sunday School class." The regular interactions, the accountability, the shared service, the assistance in times of trouble, the fresh ideas - these are all essential to my faith life. My brothers and sisters in Christ are essential.
This era is a difficult one for Christ's church as it rebounds from the pandemic. A "new normal" is developing. New forms of meeting and engaging are taking hold. Let us remember the essentials in the midst of change. We need fellowship; we are commanded to be in fellowship. We are stronger together, and so is the church.
We come together in fellowship, emerging from our individual periods of prayer and meditation. Start your day by using my devotional guide, "30 Minutes Over 30 Days," a sequence of one-minute devotionals to enrich your life. To receive it, please register for my free monthly newsletter at CecilTaylorMinistries.com, either in the pop-up box or in the orange box as you scroll down the home page.