May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now.
Ok, I cheated!
That opening paragraph is taken from the Apostle Paul’s New Testament letter, Philippians Chapter 1, verses 3 to 4. (Check out Paul Rigby’s brilliant introduction to this book from last Sunday).
The original Greek word that the Apostle Paul uses for ‘partners’ in v5 is ‘Koinonia’ and most of the time in the New Testament it’s translated as ‘fellowship’.
This word fellowship is rich and potent in meaning, and in these ever-changing times we need it more than ever.
It conveys the sense that we are deeply connected and committed to each other – almost ‘bound’ to each because of something we have in common.
For example, the Bible talks about the fact that we have fellowship …in the faith (Philemon 6), in suffering (Philippians 3:10), in comfort (2 Corinthians 1:7), in trouble (Revelation 1:9) in the Gospel (1 Corinthians 9:23) – in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:9).
You can understand why the Apostle Paul, who writes from a prison cell, was expressing so much gratitude for these deep, loving friendships.
My prayer is that God will continue to be at work in building beautiful fellowship amongst the Zeo family. We all have a part to play in that.
Being welcoming and inclusive.
Being loving and kind.
Being honest and sensitive.
It reminds me of the preach I gave at my son’s wedding last year – may our relationships think the best, forgive the worst, and love the most.
Like Paul with the church in Philippi, whenever I think of you Paul, I thank God for your fellowship/friendship/partnership in this crazy adventure of following Jesus together. None of us has got it together, but together we’ve got it!