Many of us—especially those of us up here in Minnesota—feel the drain the cold, long, and dark winter months have on our bodies and minds. We lack the vitamin D and the warmth the sun provides. Our bodies are sluggish. Our faces are chilled.
My preschooler has been among the many feeling the lack of the warmth and light of the sun. He has made it a habit of asking me the same question daily: “Mom, spring will come again, right?”
A Longing for Return
My response is always “Yes,” but each answer has a different tone. Some days I am certain spring is just around the corner. I can feel the warmth on my skin and the boost from the vitamin D. After a week or two of answering his questions, I realized how strikingly similar the interactions with my preschooler are to those of Christian fellowship.
When we gather together with fellow believers, our questions are much bigger than weather conditions. At the root of the questions is a longing for Jesus Christ. Some days we are certain His return is right around the corner. Other days, we feel the void and need a reminder that regardless of how cold we feel, Christ is right here with us as He promised in Matthew 28:20.
Paul writes about fellowship in 1 Corinthians:
“I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge—even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you—so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
(1 Corinthians 1:4-9)
Paul gives thanks for the grace of God and for the way he sees Christ at work in the Corinthians' lives and through their gifts as they wait together, sustained by Christ. They are called guiltless because of the work of Christ and because of a faithful God who called them.
In life, sometimes we acutely feel the physical separation from Christ. There are times when we don’t feel His presence, although He is never absent. We have times when we look around and all we see is destruction, hurt, and burdens. We come to one another with heavy hearts and minds. In those times, we bear one another’s burdens just as we are told in Galatians 5:22-25.
In fellowship, we answer one another by pointing to the work of Christ for us in Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. We recognize the burdens of those in our midst and bear those burdens by serving our neighbor. We remind one another that Christ is at work regardless of circumstances, and we look forward to the day when He will return to take us home with Him.
A Promise of Return
In fellowship, we come together to be fortified for whatever may come in the week to follow. Christ has promised that His true body and blood are present in the bread, wine, and words of the Sacrament of the Altar (Luke 14:22-25). Just as we bask in the glory of the sun, even on winter days, we get to partake of the gifts He has given us right here and now. In the Sacrament of the Altar, the wine warms our throats, the bread dissolves in our mouths, our ears hear the promises of His presence and His forgiveness. We are refreshed and sent forth to do His work.
United by Christ we come together and say to one another: “Jesus is here. He is at work for you. He is coming back for you.”
Stay connected or reconnect with your church family this spring with Connected to Christ: Overcoming Isolation through Community.