News, Connections and Photos from the life of the faith community at CAPC Oakland
This week we turn to the second of what we as Presbyterians we call the Six Great Ends of the Church. The shelter, nurture, and spiritual fellowship of the children of God [Book of Order (F-1.0304)].
Community (spiritual fellowship in the Greek word koinonia used in Acts 2:42 ) is both a buzz word and a huge problem for us these days. It’s what everyone wants, and claims to either know or foster. And yet we are in a time of great division and misunderstanding about what community means and who is a part of it.
As a nation we’re struggling with the hard facts that Black people more than three times as likely as white people to be killed during a police encounter. Roughly 1 in 3 women over 15 years of age have been subjected to intimate partner violent, non-partner sexual violence or both at least once in their lives. Historically White evangelicals were the largest religious faction in the country number 23 percent of the population in 2006 to 14.5 percent last year. In 2020, as in every year since 2013, the largest religious group in the United States was the religiously unaffiliated. Some of those facts (and countless others) may be familiar to us. While some may come as a shock. We’re not always who we think that we are.
The passage of Acts 2 paints the portrait of what true, vibrant inclusively liberating Christian community can look like. Some see this as a goal to pursue. Others may say it’s a pipe dream, a fiction that can never truly be known on Earth. In the Mark 2 passage we see Jesus confront the barriers that prevent such a notion of inclusively liberating community. These barriers are physical, relational, emotional, spiritual and religious.
The word for community, or fellowship, in the New Testament, is the Greek word koinonia which means “what is shared in common as the basis of fellowship (partnership, community).” It implies mutual participation – giving and receiving in a relational dynamic. The past 15 months of our life together as a faith community has been one of rich koinonia even in the midst of the fear and isolation of the pandemic. We’re rallied around and been infused by the power and purpose of the weekly community care packages and Friday Night Dinners – and all that they have represented. What have we learned from pursuing this end in this way?
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION & EXAMEN:
• What engaged you, enraged you, or surprised you in the text?
• The texts tell of how people responded to the good news (proclaimed and enacted) of Jesus. They responded in part by overcoming barriers to embrace healing and freedom. What barriers are overcome? How are they overcome? What does such healing cost ?
• When, if ever, have you experienced such Christ-centered koinonia-community? Did you participate as a giver or receiver, or both? What sense of awe did you experience in it?
Study the texts for the day with our downloadable textual study sheet PDF HERE.