MOMENTS WITH THE MINISTER: A message for would-be water walkers
In Matthew 14, the disciples were in a storm tossed boat when they saw Jesus walking on the water. When he told Peter to come, Peter got out of the boat and walked on the sea by faith. Someone asked what would have happened if the other disciples had followed Peter. I tried water walking once, and quickly learned the difference between faith and presumption, the latter being the expectation that God will bless your efforts that He has not ordained for you to do.
Yes, Philippians 4:13 does say, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” But, that is in the context of the writer enduring hardships, not in performing superhuman feats because he chose to do so. Jesus was tempted by Satan to jump from the top of the Temple, quoting out of context Psalm 91, saying “...in their hands [God’s angels] shall bear thee up...” Jesus answered by referencing the Old Testament commandment, “...thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” (Deuteronomy 6:16)
If God did not call you to do a thing, you may find yourself embarrassed- or worse- by the outcome of your action.
The Bible tells us in Hebrews 10:25 not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. Again, Acts 5:29 says we ought to obey God rather than men. Paul clarifies the Church’s relationship with government in Romans 13, beginning with “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers...” If the government’s orders are not in conflict with the Word of God, we are commanded to obey the government to maintain order. In Sherman, Texas we drive on the right side of the road, in London, England on the left.
Regarding the assembling of ourselves together, churches are using creative means of assembling while physically distancing. The praise team and the speaker on an outdoor stage, with the congregation in cars in the parking lot. A full choir and orchestra, and the speaker on Zoom, no two persons physically close, except those in their homes. A service on Facebook Live, with responses texted from members of the congregation. Group prayers by telephone conference call. And there are church auditoriums large enough, with congregations small enough, that safe distancing is easily achieved.
Conspiracy theories aside, it is glaringly obvious that the USA, where many consider enforcement of CDC guidelines a violation of their Constitutional rights, has the highest per capita incidence of coronavirus in the world. We personally knew friends and relatives who did mot live to see 2021 because of COVID-19 by itself, or because it aggravated an underlying condition.
Operation Warp Speed is producing vaccines in an incredibly short time that are over 90% effective. Actual shots in the arm are proceeding much slower than expected. Meanwhile, holiday travel and partying have turned a predicted cold weather surge in cases into a tsunami. Worse, the virus has mutated int a much more contagious variant. We have left 2020 behind; but, unless the government applies draconian measures, or, unless the citizenry volunteers to stop the spread of the virus, the most pessimistic timelines for ending the pandemic will be overly optimistic.
This is an opportunity for the people of God to glorify Him by applying biblical principles to end the pandemic. The Old Testament levitical laws of sanitation regarding lepers can be applied to the current situation. Wash or disinfect common touch surfaces. Wash hands. Avoid physical closeness.
Church, we can lead the way in sacrificing our comfort in this war for the lives and health of our neighbors. Our motivation- our rallying cry- can be Colossians 3:23 “Whatsoever we do, we do as unto the Lord.”
Homer McQueen serves as assistant pastor of Mt. Carmel Church of God in Christ, secretary at In His Shadow Outreach Ministries, chaplain for the Sherman District Parole Office, ministry volunteer for the Texas Youth Commission and Texas Department of Criminal Justice, a part-time pharmacist, and a full-time husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Herald Democrat.