So far, this has been one of the easiest films for me to connect with. I love being in community with other people. It just feels right to me. That being said, there were some challenging segments to this one.
In the study guide, it asks this question, “Is you view of the church based on a biblical understanding of the church or on something else?” That is a question I have struggled with for a long time. I sometimes feel that my understanding of the church and what I see are two different things. Often, it appears as if the church is a disconnected group of people who happen to occupy the same space on Sunday morning. It appears there is a lack of deeper connection.
This is why I feel so strongly about the need for smaller gatherings of people throughout the week and not just a corporate gathering on Sunday. But I don’t think that smaller gathering should be all about re-hashing what was preached on Sunday. It should be a natural gathering of people coming together to talk about the mundaneness of life. They should gather to talk about their struggles and victories for that week. It shouldn’t be a repeat of Sunday morning.
I have such a poor understanding of what the word “fellowship” means. I always just thought it was a gathering of people to talk about God. While things like that can and do happen, I am coming to learn the word is much deeper. It has a connotation of a shared responsibility in something, not just passive participation; which is interesting to explore.
The word fellowship translated into Greek is “Koinonia” which means communion, joint participation; the share which one has in anything, participation, a gift jointly contributed, a collection, a contribution, etc. It identifies the idealized state of fellowship and unity that should exist within the body of Christ. That is a powerful word and not just one that means passive participation with a group of people.
There is an air of being sold out to the group. They are you people. They are you community. They are your tribe. These people aren’t the ones you only see once a week (maybe…if they come to a gathering every single Sunday). These are people you are walking arm-in-arm with. They are the ones who know you and you know them.
I’m not talking about a surface level “know”. I mean know your name, where you come from, what kind of person you are, who your family is, and you know all the same about them. I don’t even feel like the word “know” is appropriately used in this context. I’m not sure which word would be more appropriate, but “know” feels so surface level in the current culture. Maybe brotherhood.
One of the things I miss the most about the Marine Corps is the brotherhood…the family. Bonds like that are what the church is sometimes missing. But a bond like that is only forged under extreme adversity. That is something else the church is missing. Adversity.
See, in America we have it easy. We aren’t persecuted for being Christians, at least not in the truest sense of the word. We get some bad press every now and then but for the most part, we have it pretty easy. It feels weird writing that as I sit here solidly planted in the US but I think the church in the United States is not indicative of the church in the rest of the world; neither in the way we gather nor in the amount of persecution we face because of our faith.
The bottom line is we cannot be honoring to God and do what he instructs us without gathering with others in community. There is no “I don’t need to go to church.” You cannot say “I love Jesus.” and in the same breath call his bride “ugly.” You must be part of a family of believers if you claim to follow Jesus. Now does it have to look like Americanized Christianity? Not necessarily. But you do have to gather with other believers. It’s just that simple.