If we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7 NRSV)

In 1765, John Fawcett was called to pastor a very small congregation in Wainsgate, England. The work was very difficult because of the weakness of the congregation. Their numbers were very small and they were very poor. The church was rich in one way, however. They were a very warm and friendly congregation.

John Fawcett poured his whole heart and soul into the ministry of this little congregation. He loved them, and they loved him. It was not very many years until a very large church in London heard of Fawcett's ability and came to hear him. After several weeks of agonizing prayer and meditation, he accepted the call to the pulpit of this large metropolitan church. As the wagons were loaded with his few possessions, the small congregation that he had grown to love so dearly gathered to see him off. He asked all of them to sing a new song he had written for the occasion. You will recognize it immediately from its first line: "Bless be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love. The fellowship of kindred minds is like to that above."

Fellowship is essential to the life of the church. Whatever a church is, it certainly is a fellowship of kindred hearts!

Dear God, remind me often of the importance of Christian fellowship. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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