Last night I was reminded of the importance of Fellowship in Faith, Love, and Spirit. My meeting hosts a “Seekers” group every month, a group I have been blessed to be a part of for the past year. A topic is chosen each month and selected readings are emailed to all who might attend, as well as those who have indicated that although they cannot attend, they would like to participate through the readings each month. We join together in Worship, Sharing, Confession, Faith, Love, and Laughter. Our gatherings always serve as a reminder of how God’s Presence grows stronger with every soul that joins our circle, whether they be strong in Faith that night or not, for even in those times when we feel distant from God, God is never distant from us, and The Spirit within can be felt by those around us even when we ourselves are unaware of its presence.
Our discussion last night centered around patience and happenstance. We shared our struggles and our difficulties in the practice of patience and being present. Amazingly, the more we discussed our failures and the more we shared with one another our moments of weakness, the more the presence of God seemed to illuminate the space in which we sat and the stronger The Spirit became amongst us. A warm sense of comfort began to come over me and I felt held, safe, and trusting. I wonder, without the honest and Faithful Fellowship of Friends, would any of this be possible? And, if it were possible, how much more difficult and trying would it be to achieve on one’s own? I am so very thankful for this circle of Friends. I consider its existence and place in my life to be both a blessing and a miracle.
When we share openly and honestly with one another in Faith, we enter into what I feel is a living embodiment of the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Jesus broke bread and asked his disciples to share it amongst themselves in remembrance of Him. In regard to Fellowship, it is our words, our stories, our struggles, our confessions, our loss, our love, and our light that are the pieces of bread we share with each other. Even our very presence and Faithful listening become forms of sharing. The eye contact we make with another from across a room can be just as powerful as the thoughts and feelings we share.
Living a life of Faith can be the loneliest of endeavors. At times, it can feel like the weight of the whole world is on our shoulders. We ask ourselves, “If God is real, and He lies within, then why do I feel so alone?” I’ve asked myself this question on many occasions. I’m not totally sure of the answer. However, the most basic conclusion I can come to, is that the Children of God were never meant to walk alone. From the very beginning, human beings were social creatures. It is written in our genetic code to work together, to interact with each other, and to live together. Even more, we are meant to love together, to hurt together, to struggle together, and to have Faith together.
Fellowship amongst ourselves is so very important to our Spiritual, emotional, and psychological well-being. I am blessed to be a part of such a loving Faith community, and more specifically, to be a part of an even smaller circle of Seekers, who share so openly and honestly with me in Faith, love, and understanding.
By Eric Palmieri, Westport Friends Meeting