is a key characteristic of the Christian community in the epistles in the New Testament where we read the pronoun allelon which means "one another."
Romans 12:16 calls us believers to "live in harmony with one another." and "have the same care for one another" in I Cor. 12:25, and we are to "bear one another's burdens" Gal. 6:2.
Recently I invited a friend to dinner. She's been beached in the downside tsunami hitting many hard workers. This single parent is a conscientious woman who's never been in this place before. One reason I've enjoyed our friendship through the years is my friend's upbeat faith in all circumstances. But she has sounded very serious lately. Writing this blog series on "loneliness" inspired me to alter my schedule to treat my friend to dinner.
She walked to my car with her shoulders slumped at a slow pace. Her beautiful smile was now gone; and the sadness in her face couldn't be masked. She wasn't hungry and didn't care where I decided on us going for our dinner. When we arrived at the restaurant, she decided on some desert. I got soup and a half sandwich. We sat at that table with my friend talking and talking and talking. I managed to pull off a few jokes that had her laughing and laughing. The waiter brought me a whole sandwich and I couldn't eat all of the food. After an hour my friend ate my food left on the plate. She ate several deserts. She had her appetite back in this "togetherness" healing place of our God. I had prayed the blessing that God would show up to bless us as we broke bread together.
Folks, after seeing my friend come to life from despair and depression in that simple meal that lasted 3 hours, I'm convinced we Christians have complicated Jesus Christ's plan of life out of it's effectiveness. My friend all but skipped to the door and turned as she went in the door with her wonderful smile. Oh, my.....togetherness, a little love, an ear to hear, a little good food eaten with a friend, and the presence of God heals.
There is strong Biblical evidence of the miracle God worked in my friend as we ate together. In one commentary there are 23 examples cited in the epistles. In Scripture repetition implies emphasis.
I hear person after person tell me how they don't need mentors or small groups. They are just fine "Me and Jesus." I try to tell them they've deviated from God's plan, but it seems most have to crash into a wall or fall off a cliff to comprehend this concept. God's call is One Another.
Many words that form the Greek root word: koinon are used to describe healthy Christian communities in the New Testament.
Koinos...adjective.that which is shared
Koinoneo... verb.to share or participate in
Koinoia...noun.sharing, fellowship, communion
"Christian koinonia is not just something spiritual; it has to be expressed in concrete ways. Believers are expected to "share what you have" (Heb 13:16; Rom.12:13; I Tim 6:18). The earliest community in Jerusalem was marked by a voluntary sharing of resources; "all who believed were together and had all things in common (hapanta kona) Acts 2:44."
"The church is thus a caring and sharing community, a life-sustaining fellowship, in which the members of the body of Christ receive their life from God,and comfort, encourage, and support one another." Scobie, Charles H. H., The Ways of Our God, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p.501-502.