“Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25, English Standard Version)

As a child, I remember the excitement of attending the family reunion. It wasn’t anything fancy, just a roadside park with a few picnic tables where the aunts set out platters of fried chicken, potato salad, coleslaw, and other yummy homemade dishes. They loaded those tables with enough food for an army. In the meantime, the cousins ran and played, happy to be together again. The uncles sat and talked while the women got everything ready. It was a relaxing, fun-filled day spent with people we loved.

Family gatherings are important and keep us connected. Those carefree summer gatherings at the roadside park are now just a memory. The aunts and uncles are no longer with us, but I still remember their laughter, the hugs, and the joy of being together. We belonged to each other.

On Sundays I’m excited to gather with the family for another great day together. Not the aunts, uncles, and cousins. Each week I spend time with my brothers and sisters in the Lord. It’s a family reunion, something we call “going to church,” and we enjoy a blessed time together. We anticipate this weekly event and leave feeling renewed and energized after spending time together.

Fellowship was an important part of the early church. Acts 2:42 speaks of four specific things that comprised their time together:

“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”

Fellowship is more that sharing donuts and coffee together. If we look at the biblical usage of fellowship in the above verse, it speaks of community, a common purpose, partnership, participating together. We are binding together to do God’s will. Apparently, some had become lax in joining together with other believers, which prompted this reminder in Hebrews 10:25.

Recent events in our world have changed the way we currently enjoy fellowship. Hopefully, we will soon be able to meet together in person. In the meantime, we are still able to share in a weekly “reunion” via the internet and social media. As we worship online, we still enjoy the feeling of community, just in a different way. We are still one body, a family of believers. We still feel that connectedness and love for each other. The part of fellowship I’m missing is “breaking of bread,” but a friend and I decided to have tea together on FaceTime. We spent a wonderful time together sipping tea and talking.

The verse in Hebrews also tells us to encourage each other. Pick up the phone, mail a card, send a text, or write an email. It’s family time, and God is in our midst. We belong together!

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:20, ESV).

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for the large family You have given me. We are “blood relatives,” but the blood that joins us is Yours. We are part of the family of God. We appreciate each one and pray Your blessings, strength, and encouragement for them today.

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Mary enjoys traveling, meeting new people, and spending time with old friends. Although directionally challenged, she would rather take the back roads with their discoveries than the boredom of the interstate.

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