Please join us Wednesday night at 7:30 P.M. for our virtual prayer meeting on Facebook live – @calvarychapelsi
“From at Least Six Feet Away”
“How do we achieve being socially distant but spiritually connected is what I’m trying to figure out.” These were the words of Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo yesterday as he concluded his daily coronavirus news conference. He is undoubtedly not the only one asking this question. Good news Governor! I know the answer.
This is a question that the first Christians had to deal with. Almost from the start they were under severe persecution that resulted in separation and isolation from both physical and spiritual families. They had a profound understanding of what being socially distant meant. Perhaps that is why the writers of the New Testament addressed this issue of being connected while being distant in such distinct terms.
Followers of Jesus Christ have a very unique relationship with their Savior. The Apostle Paul describes it this way “But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.” (1 Corinthians 6:17) The Greek word used by Paul for join here is “kallomai” which emphasizes the close relationship of being a disciple. The text literally says “But the one who is joined to the Lord is one spirit”. As a disciple of Jesus Christ there is no distance between Christ and myself spiritually speaking. We are one. That is true of all of His followers, so we are also one with each other. This oneness is part of Jesus’ prayer in John 17 where He asks “that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:21).
The relationship that God’s children have with the Father, the Son and each other is often referred to as fellowship. The Greek word for fellowship is “kononia”. That Greek word means that we have an association involving a close mutual relationship. The Apostle John says it this way: “That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” (1 John 1:3).
That same word. “kononia” is used in Paul’s Benediction of 2 Corinthians. There he prays that “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (2 Corinthians 13:14). We see in this text that the Holy Spirit is involved in producing this Fellowship as well as the Father and the Son. The whole Trinity is involved.
What is clear from these texts is that Christians don’t have to be in the same room to be together. Because we are all one with the Lord, we are also joined to each to each other no matter the geographical boundaries. Beyond that, the fellowship that we share with the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit, is something we have with each other even from a distance.
One of the purest ways to experience this connectedness is through prayer. Spiritually speaking, as we pray together even when we are apart, we are in the same place. We at the throne of grace. The writer of Hebrews in fact invites us there saying “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
When we call a fellow believer on our cell phone we can know that we are one in the Lord. As we send a text to a brother or sister we are sure that they and we share fellowship with one another and with our Lord. When we pray with one another virtually through Facebook, through streaming, through zoom, etc. to seek mercy and grace in this hour of need we are together on our knees at the throne of grace. We are, spiritually speaking, connected in the same room, the throne room of God.
So, the answer to the Governor’s question “How do we achieve being socially distant but spiritually connected?” is simple but profound. It is a question that the followers of Christ in the first century had to answer as they fled persecution and where separated from their families and each other. It is best achieved by praying together not necessarily in the same geographical place but in the same spiritual space, the throne room of God. Governor, there is room here at the altar if you want to join us.
Pastor Dave Watson
Tomorrow we will not be meeting in our facility. We will meeting on line. We will live stream starting at 11:15 A.M on http://www.calvarychapelsi.org and on facebook @calvarychapelsi. We will be on the radio at 570AM the Mission beginning at 11:30 A.M. Please supporting your church through texting “ccsi give” to 7797 or going to calvarychapelsi.org and clicking the donate button. You can download our app by texting “ccsi app” to 77977
Below is the outline to download or view
At 10:15 A.M. we will have a kids program led by Rena Wilkerson on facebook live only.
This weekend at Calvary Chapel
We are having no physical services at Calvary Chapel this weekend
Please join us for a special “In His Presence” at 8:00 P.M. tonight on Facebook @calvarychapelsi
This Sunday we will have only one service at 11:15 A.M. and we will broadcast it live on Facebook @calvarychapelsi and will live stream the service on www.calvarychapelsi.org We will be broadcasting at 11:30AM on 570WMCA The Mission.
Directives from the Top, the VERY Top
The coronavirus crisis is engulfing our city, state, and nation. On almost every level, unprecedented action is being taken to help us deal with this world-wide pandemic. My brothers and sisters we live in difficult and amazing times.
As citizens of New York City, New York State and the United States of America we are being asked to personally take this virus very seriously. The directives we are being given are what the Mayor, the Governor, the President and their teams think will keep us safest; “flatten the curve” of this virus, shorten its effect, and save lives.
We should do our best to obey the directives of the government authorities around us. As 1 Peter 2:13-15 reminds us: “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. “
The only exception to this principle is when the commands of the authorities come in conflict with the laws of God. Peter himself tells us “We must obey God rather than men“ Acts 5:29. At times like these it is wise and good to remember that as proud as we may be of any earthly citizenship we have, we owe our ultimate allegiance to a Higher Power. Paul tells us that “…our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” Philippians 3:20
So, above all else, we are citizens of Heaven – members of the kingdom of God. As such, we might do well to know and follow the directives given to us by our King, the Lord Jesus Christ. After all, His directives trump Trump’s, Cuomo’s, DeBlasio’s and anyone else’s for that matter.
There are two passages of Scripture that are very instructional in this matter. They are found in the gospel of Matthew which reveals Jesus to us as our King. Both passages are very familiar. Here is the first which we call “The Great Commandment”.
“And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 22:37-40
The directives here are easy to spot aren’t they? We are to love God with all that we have and we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. Said differently, we need to be absolutely committed to God with all that we have. In addition, we are to be as committed to the well-being of our neighbor as we are to the well-being of ourselves. This is pretty strong stuff from King Jesus!! Our Lord goes on to tell us that the Law and the Prophets, most of the Old Testament, depend (tie together) on these two commandments. They are that important.
The other passage is found in the Sermon on the Mount. We know it as “The Golden Rule”. It states: “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 7:12
So if we wouldn’t want it done to us we shouldn’t do it to our neighbor, and vice versa. This time King Jesus adds that the reason for living this way is that “this is the Law and the Prophets”. It is that important. It’s almost an equation here. The Golden Rule = The Law and the Prophets. The 613 commandments of the Old Testament summed up in one simple statement. Only Jesus could pull that off.
These are difficult and amazing times. These times call for some very special measures. As those who claim to follow Christ, those who say that Jesus is their King, it is time to live like…..Christians. That requires that we follow the directives to:
- Love God with all we have
- Love our neighbor as ourselves
- Treat others as we would have them treat us
Everything we do and plan to do needs to be run through a grid that includes these three directives. It affects all matters from acquiring ventilators, to making sure the most vulnerable are protected to social distancing to how much toilet paper we hoard and everything else involved in this crisis. Living this way is so critical, especially now. We need to be Jesus to our world almost like we have never needed to be before.
The various government directives are very important, but without the words of Jesus they have no soul and are reduced to being pragmatic commands of a bureaucracy. The salt and light of society right now, the soul if you will, are to be the followers of Jesus Christ (Matthew 5:16).
Why should our world buy into Jesus’ directives if His people; His church, those who claim to be the citizens of His kingdom, have not yet done so. May the Lord give us the strength to walk our talk. We need, with His help, to practice the Great Commandment and the Golden Rule. They come from the top, the VERY top.
Pastor Dave Watson
Church’s Prayer Bulletin – downloadable