February 16, 2012

Interface: Commonality/Community

Ever since I started studying the Bible in earnest almost twenty years ago, I've been interested in the Greek and Hebrew words used in the early texts. In an English translation, the words are chosen by the translators to best communicate either the idea indicated in the whole sentence, or to be closer to a word for word meaning translation. In either case, I've always liked to look at key words in the original languages to look for deeper meaning and understanding of what the writers were saying, and what God is saying to me.

Last night, during a class discussion with our co-pastor, Mindy, koinonia  (κοινωνία) came alive for me. While it is used in many contexts in the New Testament, the overarching meaning is, "communion by intimate participation." It speaks of not only the remembrance of Christ in the Lord's Supper, but also the relationship of the people in the church.

Think about that second part a bit. When I look at myself, I can't honestly tell you that my church attendance is characterized by "intimate participation."

I can tell you that my thoughts and reflections during the Lord's Supper are intimate and intense. And while I fully believe that the call to remember Him at His table is the highest part of any church service, it's not the whole picture.

Intimate participation. It's a heavy thought.

The interesting thing is that when you look at the deeper into koinonia, this communion by intimate participation, to the Greek root word, koinos, we see that koinos simply means "common."

There's a really heavy idea. That our intimate participation in the Lord's Supper, and in the congregation is meant to be a common thing, rather than something out of the ordinary.

Common. Something occurring often. Ordinary. Something that we would see every day.

This intimate participation, instead of being viewed as something special that happens in our ordinary daily life, makes our ordinary daily lives something special.

Instead of church being something set apart as "special" in our lives, our entire lives become something set apart for God, sanctified in His name.

This commonality of fellowship, this community sense of intimate participation, that's what it means to be called to be His holy people.

But that takes us into a new Greek word to study.

Take a look at Proverbs 8, and then Mark 9:7, and may your day be blessed by listening to His wisdom.

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