Saturday, 31 October 2015

Fellowship in the truth

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.

So begins John in his first letter. Much could be and has been said about those verses. The one thing that struck me this morning is how fellowship (with God and with one another) is based in truth, in facts. Things heard, seen, witnessed, touched, believed, proclaimed, written - these are the foundations of togetherness in the Kingdom. 

We live in a world where truth-that-can-be-written is derided as the foundation only for hatred and war. To experience love, we are told, we need to flee from the Objective, the Absolute. John seems to say exactly the opposite. 

And that chimes with my experience. Over the last year I can think of a number of moments of meeting with Christians, both old friends and completely new to me, where the existence of a common foundation in the gospel was either the presupposition for the meeting, or quickly became apparent in the course of conversation. Such moments have been deeply moving and a source of thankfulness. On the other hand, I have also had experiences of 'Christian' events where the commitment to the Subjective, the rejection of objective doctrinal agreement or of verbal revelation itself, strangles fellowship at birth.

Our fellowship is in the Truth. Our fellowship is in Him - the one who came, was heard, was seen, who died for our sins, who rose again for our justification, who is seated at the right hand of the Father, who has poured out the Holy Spirit, who is being proclaimed amongst the nations, who will come again to judge the living and the dead. These truths about our Lord Jesus are objective, speakable, writeable, shareable. These truths are precious to us for he is precious to us. And where there is agreement in these truths, there is fellowship, light and joy. 

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