Practicing our faith through the times of the Coronavirus

Each day our Pastor will post a message to keep us connected while the Church is closed.

Day 67, May 19, 2020
“Every day”

The Day of Pentecost is fast approaching, a day we will celebrate in worship on Sunday, May 31st. Because Pentecost is found in the Book of Acts and because the Book of Acts tells us the wonderful beginnings of the church, our Sunday scriptures leading up to the Day of Pentecost are drawn from the Book of Acts. Our celebration of Pentecost in 2020 provides us a unique opportunity to learn from the early church how to respond to a crisis. In 2020 our crisis is the Coronavirus. The crisis facing the first church was learning to live without the physical presence of Jesus Christ, who after rising from the dead ascended into heaven. (Read Acts 1)

The fact that the early church learned to survive without the physical presence of Jesus Christ is amazing. The fact that the early church learned to thrive without the physical presence of Jesus Christ is a miracle, and it is a miracle that is not meant to be limited to that one particular body of believers in first century Jerusalem. Because Jesus has not left us alone…because Jesus has sent his Holy Spirit to be his vital spiritual presence in our lives…because the Holy Spirit brings power to our lives…we too can learn to thrive in our time of crisis.

As the Day of Pentecost winds down, the second chapter in Acts closes us with a vibrant depiction of those early believers who learned not only to survive, but more importantly, believers who learned to thrive. Although Acts chapter two does describe a dramatic burst of spiritual energy on the Day of Pentecost, the filling of the Holy Spirit turned out to be more than a one-time power surge. Acts chapter two uses a telling phrase, and that phrase is, “Every day.”

“Every day” they continued to meet in the temple courts. (Acts 2:46) You get the sense that every day discipleship was the mark of those early believers, who were:

• Devoted to the apostles’ teaching

• Devoted to fellowship (that wonderful Greek word Koinonia)

• Devoted to breaking of bread

• Devoted to prayer

Today is Day 67 of having these daily devotionals, daily devotionals written in response to the Coronavirus Crisis. As there is a time and a season to everything, sometime down the road these daily devotionals will eventually come to an end. But if we are going to survive this Coronavirus Crisis, and if we are going to thrive as we come through this Coronavirus Crisis and establish new patterns of discipleship in the days ahead, while these daily devotionals might come to an end, our daily devotion as disciples must not come to an end.

While these daily devotionals will eventually come to an end, one way I hope to offer encouragement for our daily journey of faith is to offer daily readings in the Gospel of Matthew that will guide us through all 28 chapters over a period of eight weeks. That will begin early in June. At Dunn’s Corners we make available copies of The Upper Room, which is a helpful daily devotion. There is a similar devotion with a title that is very appropriate to Acts chapter 2. That daily devotional is called, “Our Daily Bread.” Daily bread hearkens to images of the manna in the wilderness, manna which was given every day. Daily bread echoes the words of Jesus who taught us to pray for our daily bread. And daily bread goes so far as to give us a seat at the table with those early disciples whose lives were marked by being devoted every day to the study of God’s word, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer.

Somehow and some way, we will make it through this Coronavirus Crisis. God’s plan and God’s purpose will not fail. We will make it through this Coronavirus Crisis. Somehow and some way, we will survive this Coronavirus Crisis. But my hope is that we will do more than survive. As difficult as this crisis has been, we have been presented with an opportunity not only to survive, we have been given the opportunity to thrive. How? By putting into practice every day the marks of being devoted disciples.

Some might remember the popular song from the musical Godspell, “Day by Day.” There is another “Day by Day,” an older hymn. The presence of a more contemporary praise song and an older traditional hymn and an abundance of daily devotionals and daily bible reading programs all point to something of utmost importance. From the day the church was born, that great day of Pentecost, disciples who are devoted to Jesus Christ have been putting their faith into practice on a daily basis. Disciples of Jesus Christ practice their devotion to him every day. With that in mind I offer to you the words from the older version of “Day by Day.”

Day by day and with each passing moment, strength I find to meet my trials here.

Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.

He whose heart is kind beyond all measure gives unto each day what he deems best. Constantly it’s part of pain and pleasure, mingling toil with peace and rest.

With the love of Christ,