Companionship. From the Latin word com meaning "together," the Latin word panis meaning "bread," and the Old English suffix scipe indicating a state, condition or quality of. For me, then, companionship is a condition and quality that brings more than one person or thing together to share a life-giving substance. Or, it is a living and a being that calls one to be with another, to share whatever is most important to existence. Companionship…
Companionship in Mission. Life, with all of its components and aspects, always takes the form of a journey—a movement from one point to another. What is created between those points can be a road between two destinations, a span of time, a change of perspective, or a transformation of the spirit. Mission—a body of persons sent some place in order to perform or accomplish a specific work or service—not only acknowledges the journey as a part of life, but also claims that this life has a purpose. So for me, companionship in mission is a journey with others to impart whatever is most important to existence and living. Companionship in Mission…
The family of God in Christ that comes together as The Episcopal Church invites everyone to share in its own vision of the purpose of life—"to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ." (Catechism, BCP 855). The shapes, sounds, flavors, textures and fragrances of this purpose are numerous and various. But the essence that lives in the very heart of the Episcopal journey remains the same: To live a life loving one another as Christ loved us, to love God with all of our hearts, all of our souls and with all of our minds, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. (John 13:34-35; Matthew 22:34-40; Catechism BCP 850-851).
In these mandates of our Lord and Savior, Jesus summarizes anew our ancestors' past hopes and the dreams we dream for our descendants. He challenges us to live life fully in God's realm on earth up right up to and through the very second of our death. By partaking in these endeavors, we can discover a life restored in eternity, resurrected and rejoicing in the realm of a new heaven and earth of God.
All journeys need basic means of locomotion and sustenance. The following verses from Holy Scripture provide hands, feet, food and water for your journey into the world of companionship in mission.
Here is an exercise that you can use with these verses by yourself or with others. Pray to God for a spirit of openness and discernment. Then read a verse and let its words and images stay with you throughout the day. Feel free to write down any thoughts or images that come to you as they arise. Then come back to them at a later time of prayer and meditation with a special intention to be receptive to what the Spirit is saying to you.
These particular verses are by no means the only ones that relate to the subject of companionship in mission. Feel free to check your local library for a Bible concordance to do your own word searches. Or try the World Wide Study Bible on the Internet at http://www.ccel.org/wwsb/.
Also, Holy Scripture is only one of many provisions that God offers for a voyage such as this. The Holy Spirit breathes prayer and revelation into our bodies every day. God, our Creator, has gifted our humanity with the abilities to reason, to make choices and to co-create the realm of God on earth with God. Openness to the spirit of Christ's discerning love can help one to choose the right equipment for the appropriate time.
Make today the day you seize the moment to discover where God wants to go with you and with your neighbor. May the God who reveals the glory of creation, the Incarnation of Jesus Lord and Savior, and the life of the Spirit bless this and all of your journeys.
What images, words or scripture come up for you when you pray and think about companionship and mission? Here are some that speak to me of challenges of companionship in mission.
(Exo 23:20 NRSV) [The LORD said to Moses:] I am going to send an angel in front of you, to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared.
(Eph 6:22 NRSV) I am sending him to you for this very purpose, to let you know how we are, and to encourage your hearts.
(1 Th 5:11 NRSV) Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.
(Job 15:9 NRSV) [Eliphaz the Temanite answered:] What do you know that we do not know? What do you understand that is not clear to us?
(Acts 10:34 NRSV) Then Peter began to speak to them: "I truly understand that God shows no partiality…"
(Acts 15:25 NRSV) "…we have decided unanimously to choose representatives and send them to you, along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul…"
(Rom 14:15 NRSV) If your brother or sister is being injured by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. Do not let what you eat cause the ruin of one for whom Christ died.
(1 Cor 3:8 NRSV) The one who plants and the one who waters have a common purpose, and each will receive wages according to the labor of each.
(2 Cor 8:23 NRSV) As for Titus, he is my partner and co-worker in your service; as for our brothers, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ.
(Phil 4:3 NRSV) Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.
(Phile 1:17 NRSV) So if you consider me your partner, welcome him as you would welcome me.
Openness: Understanding with Guidance
(Judg 18:5 NRSV) Then they said to him, "Inquire of God that we may know whether the mission we are undertaking will succeed."
(Job 6:24 NRSV) [Then Job answered:] "Teach me, and I will be silent; make me understand how I have gone wrong."
(Job 23:5 NRSV) [Then Job answered:] "I would learn what he would answer me, and understand what he would say to me."
(John 14:26 NRSV) [Jesus answered,]…But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you."
(1 Cor 13:2 NRSV) And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
(James 1:19 NRSV) You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger…
(Psa 43:3 NRSV) O send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling.
(Mat 9:9 NRSV) As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, "Follow me." And he got up and followed him.
(Mark 6:7 NRSV) He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two…
(Mark 16:12 NRSV) After this he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country.
(3 John 1:4 NRSV) I have no greater joy than this, to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
(Isa 6:8 NRSV) Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I; send me!"
(Jer 1:7 NRSV) But the LORD said to me, "Do not say, 'I am only a boy'; for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you,
(Mat 9:38 NRSV) [Then Jesus said to his disciples,]"…therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest."
Share: By Giving
(Mat 15:32 NRSV) Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, "I have compassion for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way."
(Acts 11:29 NRSV) The disciples determined that according to their ability, each would send relief to the believers living in Judea…
(Acts 20:35 NRSV) [Paul said to them,]"…In all this I have given you an example that by such work we must support the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, for he himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"
Share: By Receiving
(John 13:20 NRSV) [Jesus said,] "Very truly, I tell you, whoever receives one whom I send receives me; and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.
(Rom 8:15 NRSV) For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, "Abba! Father!
(Gal 3:14 NRSV) …in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
(John 3:17 NRSV) "Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him."
(Rom 8:35 NRSV) Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
(Heb 10:36 NRSV) For you need endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.
(Acts 2:42 NRSV) They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
(1 Cor 1:9 NRSV) God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
(Gal 2:9 NRSV) …and when James and Cephas and John, who were acknowledged pillars, recognized the grace that had been given to me, they gave to Barnabas and me the right hand of fellowship, agreeing that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.
(1 John 1:3 NRSV) …we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.
(Deu 8:3 NRSV) [Moses said,] "He humbled you by letting you hunger, then by feeding you with manna, with which neither you nor your ancestors were acquainted, in order to make you understand that one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD."
(Jer 9:24 NRSV) …but let those who boast boast in this, that they understand and know me, that I am the LORD; I act with steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight, says the LORD.
Bible references from QuickVerse 4.0 New Bible Reference Collection for CD Rom.