Reformed Reflections

From the Pastor's Desk (1989 - 1993)


Each Sunday evening we confess, "I believe in ... the communion of saints." A powerful confession! We are in fellowship with God and one another. We cannot live alone. We were not meant to have a solitary existence. "No man is an island, entirely of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main," wrote poet preacher John Donne (1572-1631).

The New Testament used the word Koinania to describe the communion of the saints. This Greek word is particularly drawn from the Pauline epistles where it indicates the communion or fellowship made possible through the Gospel and by the Spirit (I Cor.1:9; 2 Cor.13:14; Phil.1:5). Specifically, Koinonia refers to fellowship or communion of believers. Christians are in Christ. They form a partnership. This common bond finds its expression in joint ministry to the needy (Rom.15L 26; 2 Cor. 8:4; 9:14), and in the furtherance of the Gospel by gifts (Phil. 1:5).

Another word closely related to Koincnia is "community". It is drawn from a Latin word meaning "Mutual participation". We think of community endeavours; a common drive to achieve as a fellowship of believers that no Christian could accomplish alone.

As I meditated on communion of saints", I thought of the annual August school drive, of parents, who send their children to a Christian School and pay their tuition. We know that tuition alone is not sufficient to cover the total cost. That is why the school board reaches out into the Christian community at large for support. I pray that the school will experience the "partnership" of the Gospel and "mutual participation".

Johan D. Tangelder