The Remarkable and Confounding “Communion of the Saints”

– in the exact middle, you can see me hugging Margaret “hello”

So in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

Romans 12:4-6

A short post this morning about friendship, and how remarkable and unexpected it can be.

– Lake Junaluska

Years ago – I’m pretty sure it was 2011 – I was invited to teach at The Upper Room’s SoulFeast Conference at Lake Junaluska. I led seminars on two of my books that year, Reaching Toward Easter (2011) and 10 Life-Charged Words (2012).

Rebekah came with me and signed up for a slate of classes. We enjoyed the beautiful setting together.

During one of the evening gatherings, Rebekah and I found ourselves misbehaving in response to an especially lame “directed worship” experience that had 1970’s New Age all over it! We elbowed each other and giggled. Then we looked around and caught the eye of another couple, two rows back, who evidently had the same response.

We joined them, discovered they were Presbyterians from St. Louis (Ronnie is a pastor and Margaret is a teacher), and became not only confederates in terms of rolling our eyes, but instant friends.

– Bethany, Margaret, Derek

Fast forward to 2023 and Margaret is traveling to Raleigh to visit their daughter, Bethany, who recently moved here as part of the new Apple campus. She let us know they were coming to worship Sunday morning and I saved a place in our pew.

“We’ve been friends since 2011,” I said to pastor Mac when I introduced Margaret and Bethany after worship. Then, “Actually, that’s the only time we have ever met.”

Seriously? That was it? But this is what is known as, “The communion of saints.” It’s the instant recognition of spirit knowing spirit. And it still kind of confounds me.

It’s what we were designed for:

We were designed, by God, to experience community on a deep level. It’s not something optional, or just for a few people. If we are to be spiritually healthy and, by extension, psychologically healthy too, then it is important to live in the way that we were designed to live.

Not just a few close friends who we can keep up with via social media even when we live in another city, but a vibrant, authentic, Christ-centered faith community.

– getting our church on

God meets us in and through these relationships; God nurtures and encourages us in The Church; God works God’s purposes out through the context of intentional community.

“So in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others…”



  1. Hi Derek Bill and I met you at SoulfFeast when you were a speaker. Actually met you in the parking lot as you arrived. We too had similar thoughts through out the large gatherings in the huge hall by the lake. Very new age.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Derek, it was a joy to see you and worship together. I often am amazed by the good things technology can do. Connect, enhance, encourage draw the community of faith together. Fun indeed to see God work in and through our journeys. Thanks for the warm welcome. Excited to know we will have more opportunities to see one another in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

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