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They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts 2:42
Many Church services have had to revise their way of worship in these days due to restrictions put on meeting together. Our church can accommodate 15 people in the sanctuary but many of us link in by internet for the live service. In the prayer time last week, one person thanked God for this time of fellowship that was enabled in this way of communication and it got me thinking about that word.
The early church met together, shared meals and prayed, and I imagine, as scripture has encouraged, greeted each other with a holy kiss. In our culture, we would greet each other with a hug in welcome. Today, we miss this, not just in church settings but with family and friends. Fellowship of yesterday seems to be replaced with a ‘ow are you’ from a two meter distance. Not the same in by any manner of means.
For most people, we need the human touch, we need contact and to feel we are loved. It reminds me of the lepers of old, shunned by society, not able to have human contact because of the infectious nature of their disease. But Jesus, the Son of God, was full of compassion and never turned away. In the Gospel of Matthew we read, ‘A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean. Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy.’ He touched him!
Even today, although we cannot hug those outside our immediate household, be encouraged that the Lord knows how we feel and He has promised that His presence is always with us. We are told that there is joy in His presence. So let’s rejoice in that whatever is happening outside our control that He is in control and has promised He will never leave us or forsake us. That is the fellowship I’ll take any day.
Dr Stuart Chalmers, Oban Baptist Church