If we do not give thanks daily for the Christian fellowship in which we have been placed, even where there is no great experience, no discoverable riches, but much weakness, small faith, and difficulty; if on the contrary, we only keep complaining to God that everything is so paltry and petty, so far from what we expected, then we hinder God from letting our fellowship grow according to the measure and riches which are there for us all in Jesus Christ.

-Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together

           

You can’t build relationships by being plastic.  Politicians might win elections doing that sort of thing—but if it’s a flesh and blood relationship you envision, you have to show a little skin.  As Jesus-followers, if we don’t get to know one another—how do we ever expect to share with, comfort, encourage and challenge one another?  The kind of community we learn of within the context of the early church wasn’t the brand that happens by chance.   

It entails being vulnerable.

I do recognize that some of our hesitation to get to know one another is just due to good old personality conflicts, time restraints, and so forth.  But fear of rejection and fear of getting burned are stubborn foes and I’d say these fears play the lead role in why we fail to open up about what bothers us terribly, what makes our heart skip a beat, what we are really thinking—or what’s actually going on.   

 So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.    (Hebrews 10:22-25, The Message Bible)

The beneifts of fellowship with one another far outweigh any negatives we may encounter. 

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