Fellowship has been one of the major points of emphasis at our Island church for the last five years. We have emphasized it during our services, challenging those in attendance to get to know someone new to them. We have emphasized it with fellowship meals following various church services, so that the bonds established in church can be strengthened with the breaking of bread together after service. And we have emphasized it on a broader level with the entire Island community, having various activities that are not attached to a church service but are held simply to pull people together. Jesus Christ will always be THE point of emphasis at our church, and the Bible tells us that the world will know that we are Christians by our love, so we use fellowship as one of the ways to demonstrate that love.
Unfortunately, as the entire world is aware, the traditional ways of fellowship have been halted due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control. In the process, it has become quite obvious how important fellowship truly is. When we come together in fellowship, not only do we strengthen bonds of friendship with others, but we also draw strength from them as we experience their authentic concern for us – their willingness to hear our concerns, to pray for us, to offer other tangible ways to help in times of difficulty, or simply to celebrate good news with us. When we are denied opportunities for fellowship, it is far too easy for us to feel like we are alone in the world, and that the things that we see on the news must therefore be how everyone else feels.
As we watch on the news the reports of systemic racial injustice, we should be angered. That anger should lead to positive and productive activity aimed at eliminating those injustices. Yet the challenge that so many of us face is what precisely to do. To that end, I suggest that fellowship is a positive and productive activity that can work to change hearts, one heart at a time.
Our church is going to re-open for in-person worship this Sunday, with services at 9:00 and 11:00 am. While social distancing norms will prevent us from fellowshipping to the extent that we would in a non-Covid world, we will still be together, able to see, talk and pray for one another. For those in the community who feel victimized by racial injustice, this is an opportunity to experience the love of our Island church. And for those looking to demonstrate that our Island is truly a unique place in terms of our love and respect for our neighbors, this should be a great opportunity to pour out that love on all in attendance. If our nation is to change, it must be done one heart at a time, and what better place to start than right here.
We will restrict seating to ensure distancing between groups, require masks, and take other measures in the service to protect those who attend, so please come and join us if you feel comfortable. For those who are still not able to join us physically, we will record the message and post it online at www.fuabchurch.org. But if you can’t join us in person, please reach out to us so that we can maintain some level of fellowship with you.
Peace and blessings – Pastor Aaron