I previously wrote about attributes that Sabbath affords us—the tranquility of Sabbath peace; the blessings of Sabbath worship; the refreshing of Sabbath rest; and those Selah moments of pause that we can take throughout the days that are like mini-Sabbaths.
This post is about another facet of Sabbath, fellowship.
One of the things I miss most about not being able to assemble in church on Sabbath is fellowship.
Follow with me with your mind’s eye:
It’s Sabbath morning. I’m awake with a feeling of renewal—the work week is behind me and I’m about to start my weekly day-long date with my Father-God. I’m relaxed for it’s a time to reboot, reset, recharge. I take extra care in getting dressed because this is the highlight of my week and I want to look my best on my date.
I arrive at church, open the doors and the air is alive with the hum of voices that float out to greet me. People are smiling, laughing, shaking hands and there’s even hugging. It feels like a celebration.
And it is!
It’s sabbath fellowship. And it’s refreshing. But there is far more than what meets the eye going on, there’s a much deeper meaning to this interaction. John describes it best in I John 1:3: “…truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.”
Yes, fellowship is partly about the interaction with those of like mind, but most importantly it is our individual and communal interaction with God. That’s what the fellowship of Sabbath affords us—the blessing of oneness with fellow believers and with God.
Under the pandemic we’ve not been able to assemble or have person-to-person fellowship. Online services give one part of what is needed for spiritual growth—expounding the word of God through sermons. But, in the absence of fellowship there’s one critical element of assembling ourselves together that Hebrews 10:25 spoke of that’s missing, and that’s “exhorting one another”. The encouragement, the learning, the motivation and uplifting that comes during fellowship cannot be duplicated or replicated.
However, one guiding principle for fellowship is to make a concerted effort to take the focus away from yourself and put it on others. So while we can’t assemble in the church building, finding socially-distanced ways to connect is critical.
My church instituted the Caravan of Hope. We drive by houses to sing and pray (socially distanced, with air hugs and blown kisses and sometimes with gifts) then drive on to the next house and repeat. Even though we can’t hug or shake hands, we haven’t forsaken the assembling of ourselves together-apart and in so doing have the blessing of Sabbath fellowship in a hybrid way.
Shabbat Shalom. May you find fellowship with friends/family and with God.
Thanks you for reading!