2 Corinthians 13:14 “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”
We use the word fellowship in many different ways–everything from the informal fun and friendship we enjoy with our friends to the formal ties of cooperation between church bodies. The Greek word Paul uses refers to something shared. We possess certain gifts and blessings together, and we use and enjoy them in common. The fellowship of the Holy Spirit speaks of sharing in God himself, his family, and his gifts.
Sharing does not come naturally. Think of how often our parents had to reinforce the idea with us when we were children. We saw siblings or playmates as rivals for the things we wanted for ourselves. That self-interest hasn’t disappeared in adulthood, has it. We don’t like to be lonely, but there are times we would choose isolation over sharing life and gifts with others. Alone with our stuff we might be miserable, but at least no one else is using up or wearing out the little treasures we are guarding so carefully. Never mind the greater treasure we are missing in the love and joy of life spent together.
The “stuff” God wants to share, and the time he wants to spend with us don’t even look attractive at first. Grace, forgiveness, holiness, even heaven–these features of life with him are “acquired tastes.” His word must worm its way into our hearts so that we acquire the taste and desire the gifts he wants to share.
But the Lord is intent on living in fellowship with us. By his grace Jesus has taken away all our sins. By his love the Father has claimed us as his own children. By calling us to faith, the Holy Spirit has made each one of us sharers in these holy gifts and more. God himself now shares us and all our life. He is ever with us. At no time is he absent from our lives. We share in him and all he is and has. We even share in the family business, and he has given us a part in spreading this grace, love, and fellowship to others.
I know a place where we will always be able to find this fellowship of the Holy Spirit. Each time we share in God’s word at church, or at home, the Spirit is there with his fellowship. Each time we share in the Lord’s Supper, Jesus is with us personally, bodily. At the communion table, God is with us, with his fellowship. As we gather with those who share our faith, God’s Spirit continues to share his gifts and strengthen the ties that bind us to himself and to the whole church on earth and in heaven.
This holy gift, this blessed promise, is often the last thing we hear when our worship ends. Take it with you. It is yours to enjoy.