“I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now.”
— PHILIPPIANS 1:3-5 (CEV)
The motion picture Invictus (2009) depicted the then-recently released political prisoner, the incoming Prime Minister of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, as a hero for unifying a racially-divided country sunk in the scourge of Apartheid.
He succeeded. He succeeded through wisdom, brilliance of vision, and mainly compassion, to use rugby union as a force for collecting a nation’s hopes, respecting the dignity of all, and he led South Africa in transcending their hopes.
He was famed to say, when asked of his family:
“My family is very large. 42 million.”
Mandela used a biblically-proven principle to inspire hope through righteousness, justice and fairness (Proverbs 1:3; 2:9).
It wasn’t humanity that dreamt up the principles of righteousness, justice and fairness; it was God who enshrined the laws of creation in these concepts—out of his nature.
When we act out of this nature, as Nelson Mandela did, we experience the kind of joy that the apostle Paul recalls in his reflective prayer time, because we are blessed with the bonds of partnership, of teamwork, of oneness, of fellowship, of sharing... as the Greeks called it, and as it was cited in the New Testament, Koinonia.
As those “who have something in common”—we who share the same Saviour, the same faith, the same counsellor, the same life—let us now remember, reflect, and celebrate our Koinonia.
Let us come before God and enjoy our fellowship of commonality; that we are one big family under Christ. Nothing separates us when we are enjoined to God.
The fellowship we share is the dramatic majesty of grace—it is for us “who have something in common,” and who call Jesus, “Saviour and Lord—King over our lives.”
And in the same way we give God great pleasure that we are “sharing in the gospel from the first day (our first day) until now.”
We who call Jesus our Saviour can reflect and celebrate in the remembrances of thankfulness and joy; for the blessings of knowing Christ, and for the joy we know we give God as we share in the gospel, to the glory of God—by ways of simple loving unity.
Unity is like a campfire. It kindles fellowship, keeping us warm.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.