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Fellowship (Koinonia)

“Humans were made for fellowship with God: this is the first and primary affirmation in the Christian doctrine of the human person. But humans, made for fellowship with God, everywhere repudiate that fellowship: this is the second fact which all Christian anthropology takes into account. Humans were made for fellowship with God: in the language of the Church, God created Adam according to His image and likeness, and set him in Paradise. Humans everywhere repudiate that fellowship: in the language of the church, Adam fell, and his fall – his ‘original sin’ – has affected all humankind.” (Metropolitan Kallistos Ware)

“Our society holds that things like faith and sin are private things. Our relationship with God is no one’s business but our own. However, today’s reading [Hebrews 3:12-16] assumes that we are responsible for one another. The apostle calls us “Holy Brethren”…Accordingly, we are a sacred fellowship who share in a “heavenly calling”…Moreover, we are the “house” over which Christ is faithful, just as Moses was faithful over His “house,” the People of God…That is, we are members of the household of God…Therefore, whether each of us is tender-hearted or hard-hearted, whether we are faithful or unfaithful, affects everyone else. Consequently, in our community of faith and love, we have the right (and duty) to look out for one another not only in our physical but our spiritual welfare. If we should encourage one another, we should also exhort one another. However, the individualism of our society has so influenced our churches that most of us do not know how to do this. We have a lot to learn about how to give and receive the support and admonishment that our reading advises.” (Fr. Basil, Orthodox Study Bible)

“There is perhaps no greater gift that we can give to ourselves, to one another, and to our neighbors in this world than the gift of an authentic relationship of love. We live in an age which is dominated by superficial or even false kinds of relationship. Many Americans know more about characters on television shows than they do about the people who live next door to them. Many people today prefer the company they find in Internet chat rooms to the fellowship of another human being in the same room.” (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese)

“The “whole Adam” is the human race. Christ is the Second Adam, and the “whole” Second Adam includes Christ and His bride, male and female (neither of which disappears into the other). Modern individualism has largely destroyed the Biblical understanding of Church, replacing it with an institutional interpretation in which it becomes a mere fellowship. However, the reality abides. The New Adam and His bride exist among us as icon of the age to come in which the fullness of that union will be made manifest.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“We should not bring the leaven of the world’s ways into our fellowship in Christ lest it corrupts the whole loaf of our fellowship. Yet, we should relate to those who are “of the world” for their salvation that they come to know Christ through us. The difference between our life in Christ and the life of this world is the difference between living in the light and living in darkness. Let us so live that those who are in the dark may see the light of faith and love in us.” (Fr. Basil)

Koinonia (Gr.) is far more than fellowship. It is our personal participation with other believers in the life of Christ…Contrary to heretics, who claim communion (koinonia) directly with God through “spiritual” (non-material) means, John teaches communion with God through the Incarnate Son.” (Orthodox Study Bible, 1 John 1:3,4)

“The holy, fellowship-giving God is He Whom Saint John proclaimed because he knew Jesus in the flesh. As the Apostle says, “we have seen with our eyes....we have looked upon, and our hands have handled...the Word of life” (1 John 1:1). The capacity to call God ‘Light’ and to have fellowship with Him arose directly from interpersonal contact with the God-Man, Jesus Christ Who “cleanses...from all sin” (vs 7)…The God-Who-is-Light is Christ our Savior, with Whom we may have fellowship and Eternal Life.” (Dynamis 5/8/2018)

“The human person is created for relationship.” There is a Greek word that broadly contains the essence of this truth: koinonia. It means, in its most basic sense, ‘community,…But this world has always denied koinonia…” (Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, Douglas Cramer)

“Hebrews 13:15-16 reads ‘Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.’ Good works and life in community (to share, Gr. koinonias) must be united with worship.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Hebrews 13:15-19)

“Empowered and perfected by Christ’s grace and mercy, the community and each of its members are called to become an epiphany of divine love, an image of the new humanity gathered around the risen and glorified Lord and living under His rule. No longer alienated from our true nature, we enter as free persons into a communion – koinonia – of love where everything that divides people is abolished. We exist not as we are, but as that which we will become.” (Fr. Alkiviadis Calivas)

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