39Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41And many more believed because of his word. 42They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.” John 4:39-42
What makes us think it, “These folks are so fake?”
What makes us feel it? “These people are so fake!”
Welcome to the realm of what its like to be the only one being real. Ha! Anytime we drop in on a group that knows each other and seems to have its own language, we can only make judgments. The critical spirit is easy and cheap. In my experience its mostly about me not knowing the stories and therefore the values of this crowd. They seem so different and unavailable to me.
That’s when I’m busy making assumptions about the levels of emotion being or not being expressed in their language and bodies.
So, what’s authentic fellowship?
The church has been endowed with this funny word that we typically don’t use in public conversations. Fellowship. Its the Greek word, koinonia, “the share that one has in anything, participation; contact, fellowship, intimacy” (Thayers Greek Lexicon).
For the Christian koinonia, begins with Jesus bringing us into the communion of God through the grace of forgiveness and the common confession, “Jesus is Lord.” Now through the Spirit of God we are connected and have a share in Him and His Kingdom. We have been summoned into a life together in which we are being changed by Him.
This is why our stories are so important. In most large public gatherings of Jesus’ “church” we are not getting to hear the story of our neighbour. They may look pretty good, cleaned up, and having it all together at that hour. They may look like someone who never really needed Jesus. But you don’t know… till you know their story. Authentic churches keep making spaces where people can share their story of being touched by Jesus.
Your story breeds authentic fellowship.
“It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.” John 4:42