I love to laugh. I love to chat up the next person, trade jokes, shoot the breeze, chew the fat. But I personally struggle a bit with the word “fellowship.”
I dunno, maybe it’s my Catholic upbringing. Catholics do pot lucks, casseroles and pancake breakfasts, but they don’t do fellowship. Or maybe it’s being raised in the 1960s with three older brothers, all of whom thought that being friendly was giving noogies and wedgies in between totally nailing you with their Whammo Airblaster.
Or maybe it’s the word itself. FELLOWSHIP. Hail, fellow well met! Hope you are ship shape! Let us engage in some fellowship over a flagon of mead!
It’s probably just me. MANY things are “just me.”
Still, I think it’s entirely possible that the word “Fellowship” gets a bad rap.
We strive for fellowship all the time – but I think we actually need to identify it first, just in case we are looking over it’s head for something bigger, or more polite, or holier. I mean, it IS a three syllable word, very nice and churchy, and even referenced in the Bible, so it has to have some heft and gravitas to it, yes?
Well, maybe. Or maybe it’s a little more, well, normal, than we think.
With the disclaimer that I am no expert on the subject, I do nonetheless venture to say that this is what I think fellowship might actually be, here and now, with its feet on the ground…
Fellowship is leaning over your choir chair and having a really good laugh with the soprano behind you.
Fellowship is asking someone “How are you?” and then, not only hanging around for the answer, but commiserating right alongside, because YOU don’t understand why things are the way they are sometimes, either.
Fellowship is saying “hi” back, even when your face is full of chocolate chip cookie and it comes out sounding like “hmmmfph.”
Fellowship is actually knowing what “hmmmfph” is supposed to mean.
Fellowship is noticing the person next to you is missing tonight, and deciding maybe you’ll call him this week with a “whazzup.”
Fellowship is knowing that you are totally all right with the person next to you hitting a wrong note, coughing without their hand up to their face, sneezing so loud you thought a bomb went off in their nose, or, after having eaten too many beans at Chipotle, doing that thing we all do, but don’t want to admit in polite society. You are totally all right with this, because you know that in about 10 minutes, YOU will be the offending singer/cougher/sneezer/other-thinger and it will still be ok.
Fellowship is knowing that the person sitting next to you just had a really bad day. Or a really good one. You can feel it in the way they are sitting, or breathing.
Fellowship is asking how the day went, anyway.
Fellowship is being 10 minutes late getting out of the room because you got all Chatty Cathy over there in the corner and time just got away from you.
Fellowship is freely distributing your tomatoes, zucchini, or green beans.
Fellowship is taking that enormous zuke someone just handed you, and considering actually figuring out how to eat it someday.
Fellowship is no big deal.
Fellowship is everything.
SO. What’s the point? The point is, watch this week. See when you’ve been fellowshipped, and notice a moment to fellowship right back. Say thanks. Say hey. Say whazzup. Say anything. It might not sound like fellowship with the capital “F” and angels floating around it. It’s not hard. It’s not complex. Sometimes, it’s not even attractive. But it’s connection, and it’s real, and it counts.
AND it’s a lot less calories than a pancake breakfast.