Fellowship is one of those words that’s really only spoken by Lord-of-the-Rings-people, academics, or church-people. And while I fall into the latter category, I’m typically not big on churchy words. I’ve always thought it strange when people start to explain their spiritual life with a separate vernacular from the way they talk in every day life. You with me?
I feel that way and yet here’s a whole post on fellowship because last night I had an exceptional fellowship experience. As I’ve been turning it over in my mind today, I’ve come to realize how important it was. Just over 20 women from Belle Meade United Methodist Church met at my house last night to share wine, appetizers and conversation. We’re mostly in our 30’s and 40’s and in different stages of life and relationship. This group is gorgeous, successful, hilarious, cool and BUSY … so we meet every other month, on a Friday night, with this same format.
The conversation part of the format includes a simple discussion topic, shared in advance but requiring no preparation. This discussion topic is what elevates our evening beyond simply a fun gathering of friends to fellowship. Last night’s topic was this:
How do you see God in your life?
Pretty simple, right? But when is the last time you asked someone a question like that? For me, it’s pretty much never. And sadly this never encompasses conversations with my closest friends, family, child and even husband. And let’s be honest, when’s the last time you asked yourself that question. Yeah … I know.
Just how crazy this is was underscored for me last night by my oldest friend, Eleanor. Eleanor and I have known each other for going on 27 or so years and have been best friends for the majority of that time. It’s insane and beautiful and we are lucky ducks to have each other. Eleanor has only very recently started attending church again. Last night she talked about the fact that our evening of fellowship was one of the only real meaningful adult conversations she can remember having in a long, long time. I know how she feels! And during that long, long time, she and I have had MANY conversations … some important but most about kids, clothes, gossip, restaurants and such. But last night, 2 very old friends who know each other very well, got to hear how the other sees God. It was so powerful that the conversation continued the next day.
That’s also CRAZY. Crazy awesome.
The evening was filled with beautiful, messy, hilarious, tragic, and honest stories of ways large and small that God is revealed in our lives. This group of 20 women related to each other; we learned from each other; we gave each other new ideas for ways to look for God; we made each other laugh; and we gave lots of hugs to each other as finally we made our way back home. This particular breed of interaction with others is incredibly important to the life of a Christian. It’s why church means something. Fellowship is unique and transformative.
Hmmmm … unique and transformative … I suppose it does deserve a churchy word to describe it, doesn’t it? Drat.