• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

Communion is Three

We could use a variety of other terms to describe what we are talking about next in regards to the church: fellowship, community or “koinonia”.  When we normally use this word in Western contexts, we mean the activity that happens outside of the time when the community of believers gathers together.  You know, the “fellowship time (or hour)” afterwards, where we share a cup of coffee and conversation.

Yet, the Bible describes “koinonia” as “having a share with someone in something;” in other words, mutually associating and participating with others in Christ.  We “fellowship” with another when we acknowledge our common participation in the life of God in Christ and share that communion by the way we love one another (John 13:34) which is the distinguishing mark of the community of believers.

Communion, centered on the Master’s love, must imply a deeper engagement and participation with one another.  In the context of the community gathered, it manifests itself through the exercising of our spiritual gifts for the growth of one another, through the bearing of one another’s burdens and struggles, through confession and the offer of forgiveness to one another, through praying for another, or through sharing our resources freely with one another.  It is ‘one-anothering’ from the heart.

One writer wrote this about the communal life: “The Graeco-Roman world of the first century was characterized by a sense of isolation and longing for community similar to our own, and there can be no doubt that it was the richness of its communal life which was one of the major attractions of the Christian faith to others of their day.”

Jesus said it this way: “Let me give you a new command: Love one another.  In the same way I (Jesus) loved you, you love one another.  This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples – when they see the love you have for each other.”  (The Message)

2 Responses

  1. Another angle to communionis the following. I find this a continual reminder of what we are about as we ‘fellowship’ together around Jesus: “The heart of true fellowship is self-sacrificing conformity to a shared vision. . . . Christian fellowship, then, is self-sacrificing conformity to the gospel . . . . the heart of the matter is this shared vision of what is of transcendent importance, a vision that calls forth our commitment” (D.A. Carson, Basics for Believers).

    • Exactly! It is this notion of a “shared” communion. It is not one of a group of individuals who gather together and remain individuals, but a group that gathers and becomes or lives as a shared community, directed by an other-centeredness that flows from the Gospel.

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