In today's world, it is odd how easy it is to feel isolated and disconnected. We have so many opportunities to connect whether that be events, phones, texts, and social media, yet we can still find ourselves with feelings of isolation.  That is why our Christian understanding of fellowship is something we take so seriously here at Shepherd of the Hills.  We understand that we are called by God to live in community and fellowship, supporting one another in our walk of faith. Our confessions and the Scriptures provide us with clear guidance on the importance of gathering together as a community of believers.

Fellowship, or koinonia, is more than just social interaction; it is a vital part of our life together in Christ. When we gather, we encourage one another, bear each other’s burdens, and rejoice in our shared faith. Our fellowship is an expression of our unity in Christ and helps us grow in our understanding of and living out of our faith.

The Scriptures and our Lutheran Confessions highlight the importance of fellowship and gathering in many ways. Here are a few key verses that illustrate this:  Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV): "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 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.” Acts 2:42 (ESV): "And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”  The early church provides us with a model of devotion to teaching, fellowship, the Lord’s Supper, and prayer, which are central to our life together as Lutherans. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (ESV): "Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” Our fellowship is an opportunity to build each other up in the faith, a practice that is remains essential to our life together.

At Shepherd of the Hills, fellowship takes on many forms, from our Sunday Divine Service, where we receive God’s gifts through Word and Sacrament, to Bible studies, prayer meetings, and social gatherings. Each of these opportunities allows us to connect more deeply with one another and with our Lord. Let us continue to prioritize these gatherings, understanding that they are not merely routine but are central to our faith and spiritual well-being.

Central to our fellowship is our participation in the Sacraments, particularly the Lord’s Supper. In the Sacrament, we not only receive Christ’s true body and blood for the forgiveness of our sins but also express our unity with one another in the one true faith.  There is a vertical and horizontal nature to this unity. This sacramental fellowship is a foretaste of the eternal feast to come.

This summer let us commit ourselves to these gatherings.  I look forward to being with you at our services, bible studies and fellowship events.  Look in the coming weeks for an invitation to join your pastor, elder and fellow congregation members for a social gathering hosted by our elders.  This is just one more way we can grow together. 

May God bless our congregation with a spirit of unity, love, and fellowship. May we always find joy and strength in gathering together around His Word and Sacraments, and may our collective faith shine brightly as a beacon of hope in our world.

In His Love and Service,

Pastor Rust