What is fellowship

Fellowship is the oddest of things. Sometimes something. Sometimes nothing. Last night three of us.  Less than one hour.  By skype.  Thousands of miles apart.  Yet totally connected.  And this for me …

Do we (good Christians) speak for God – or do we allow God to speak through us?

Do we look inside ourselves for words of God FOR others – or do we connect WITH others so His connection can flow? Are we switched on to God – or to ourselves?   Are we a conduit of God – or a dam holding God back?

And then this morning …

“Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”” Matthew 16:13-19

“For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven.”

Peter was a fisherman. An ordinary Joe. An anger-management-issues ordinary Joe. A mouth-and-brains-not-quite-connected ordinary Joe. A speak-first-think-later kind of chap. Worried about bread. About storms. About bread and fish. About crowds. About too many noisy children. About bread!  About so much ordinary Joe stuff. Like denial. Despondency. Running away. Being scared. Being a mess. Being a bad role model.  Ordinary Joe stuff.  You and me stuff.

“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.”

I am an ordinary Joe. You are an ordinary Joe. We are all just ordinary Joes. Just like Simon Peter. Just like any of the Apostles or Saints or Martyrs or Icons or Celeb Speakers or In-Fashion Names … all of us are just “ordinary Joes” … each one of us capable of extraordinary ordinary. Capable of extraordinary love. Capable of extraordinary extra-ordinary.

All we need is one simple thing.

(and – from my own experience – that “simple thing” does not need the label of any religion, any faith, any denomination, any creed or colour or gender or sexual preference or any of that “We Speak For God” self-entitlement)

It needs connection.  The connection of love.  Connection which does not recognise entitlement of (the right) colour, the (right) beliefs, the (right) lifestyle, the (right) sexual preferences, the (right) way of worshipping, the (right) denomination, the (right) anything …

Unconditional love does not recognise “the right” anything – not even “entitlement”.  Unconditional love connects.  With words and without words.  With God and without “God”.  In every situation.  In every circumstance.  With one person at a time.

“For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven.”

That happens to ordinary Joes.  Just like you.  Just like me.  Just like Simon Peter.

So how about we all STOP distancing ourselves from the ordinary Joes who allow God to speak through them. Let’s all STOP our “God celeb” production line.  Let’s all STOP seeking fame on the back of God.  Let’s ALL stop putting ordinary Joes on pedestals (and let’s ALL stop trying to climb onto one ourselves).

For each time we do WE distance ourselves – WE disconnect ourselves from each other and God.  And then we can only speak FOR God.  And that has a terrible price:

The fear of speaking wrong for God – the fear of “entitlement hierarchy” – the fear of being accepted AND rejected – the fear of fear itself.

We so love to elevate ordinary Joes like Simon Peter, celeb pastors, In-Fashion “names” … ourselves …  Why do we do that? Why do we prefer our own elevated creations? Why do we prefer elevating others to speak for God? And why do we fear allowing God to speak through us?  And why do we fear listening to ordinary Joes so much – why must we make them (and ourselves) a celeb before they/we have “legitimacy” to speak God?

And something else (we have also created for ourselves) – why are we “Followers of The Way” so in love with fear itself?

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