The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14 NRSV)

One of Paul most quoted benedictions is "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all." It is famous for its practical indications about Paul's belief about God as Trinity. Without hesitation he addresses God as Lord Jesus, God, and Holy Spirit.

This benediction follows the order of human experience. We first experience grace, then love, then fellowship. You cannot know fellowship until you have first known grace. Also we first come to know the Lord Jesus, then we know the Father and the Holy Spirit. Each of these three speaks a truth that is vital in our understanding of the divine gift of fellowship.

In the KUDZU comic strip, Rev. Will B. Dunn discovered a new way of reaching his parishioners: "Brothers and Sisters of the congregation, remember - if you do as I say...you'll get a shiny gold star on the forehead of your soul...and a `happy note' sent home to the Almighty...or you can spend all eternity in the `time-out' corner!"

And the character adds: "When you're dealing with spiritual five-year-olds, you gotta tune in on their wave length."

When we can't relate to the church, we reject our own vital need for worship and fellowship.


God of all, thank you for the wonderful fellowship you have given to me through my Christian friends. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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