Dear MPC family,
It has been a real blessing to be able to worship with you in person these last seven Sundays, since we resumed regular worship at the church on 17 May. We’ve continued to get things rolling from there, starting back with the 5:30 PM evening worship service last Sunday. This next week is a big week (Lord willing) in that on Sunday, 5 July, we plan to start back Sunday School at 9:30 PM. Then we are looking forward to a fellowship event on Wednesday, 8 July at 7 PM in the church parking lot—our first church tailgate party. At the tailgate party, we plan on a casual time of outdoor fellowship and enjoying a meal together. So, bring your chairs, food, and something to drink (I know the ladies are doing some coordination, so that’s in motion and expect more details). Also, we plan on using the time to farewell Sandy and Pam, as they are moving shortly.
Fellowship is so important to us, and the whole stay at home thing is so anti-fellowship. Sure we can talk on the phone, text, and use Facetime or whatever your platform for video calls might be. However, it’s just not the same. This is why even on lockdown so many people were out and about and seeing people, but I’m not calling out any names. It is amazing how many people you can fit around the lake out by the golf course, by the way, something the McCay’s noticed as we went for a few walks through the neighborhood.
This is because we, as human beings created in God’s image, are designed for fellowship, which includes face-to-face in the flesh interpersonal interaction. Think about it. God said it was not good for man to be alone, so he created woman. They were both created in God’s image. The Trinity is a fellowship—one God, three persons, eternally existing as one in fellowship. In God’s image we crave fellowship. The church is God’s creation, and it is largely about fellowship. It is fellowship with each other and fellowship with the Lord himself. Fellowship among believers is also much more than just hanging out. It is, as a people united in Christ, the sharing of our lives together in loving and giving relationships. It’s not something done from a distance. It involves close interactions in brotherly love. Here are a few verses upon which to meditate:
In 1 John 1:3-4, we see the goal of the apostle’s declaration of the gospel: “That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
In Acts 2:42, we see that, from the very beginning of the NT church, they enjoyed (right alongside the teaching of the Word of God and prayer) fellowship and breaking of bread: “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”
In 2 Cor. 13:14, we have the blessing that is given, sometimes, for the benediction from worship: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”
As it is for us, praise the Lord for the time of fellowship we have been given. With the craziness of the virus and other things (like the recent civil unrest) going on in the world, we should take advantage of what fellowship we can have as best we can. Two major churches in our community who had started back worship have had to stop gathering due to coronavirus cases in their congregation. We are not immune, so be smart out there.
Also, let’s keep our nation, our community, and our brothers and sisters in Christ in prayer. The congregations who are kept from fellowship and gathering together for worship, due to prudence and government guidelines, are suffering. We know what that’s like, as we’ve been there. Please pray for the Lord’s mercy on these things. Fellowship is a gift from God that we should not take for granted. So, give thanks for the fellowship time the Lord has given us. Also, pray for our leaders, both in government and in the church. In both spheres, the Lord’s direction and discernment is desperately needed on how to move forward, making wise decisions according to his will, as various situations arise and develop and in preparation for situations to come.