It has been sometime since we have been able to receive Holy Communion together, but when we are unable to gather together for the Holy Eucharist we still have communion with the Lord spiritually. He will never leave us or forsake us. “See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands” (Isaiah 49:16).
There is a rubric on the bottom of page 325 in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer that says,
“…if a man, either by reason of extremity of sickness, or for want of warning in due time to the Minister, or by any other just impediment, do not receive the Sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood, the Minister shall instruct him, that if he do truly repent him of his sins, and steadfastly believe that Jesus Christ hath suffered death upon the Cross for him, and shed his Blood for his redemption, earnestly remembering the benefits he hath thereby, and giving him hearty thanks therefor, he doth eat and drink the Body and Blood of our Saviour Christ profitably to his soul’s health, although he do not receive the Sacrament with his mouth.”
You can even add a formal act of Spiritual Communion after the final Collect at the end of Morning Prayer on Sunday mornings for as long as public Services are suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. I am attaching for you a form that you can use alone or as a family:
AN ACT OF SPIRITUAL COMMUNION
Collect: Let the power of thy Holy Spirit come upon me, O LORD, I beseech thee: that thou mayest both mercifully cleanse my heart and defend me from all adversities, Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Epistle (Revelation 3:20): Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
The Gospel (John 15: 5): I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
Act of Contrition: O God, I am very sorry that I have sinned against thee, who art so good. Forgive me for Jesus’ sake, and with the help of thy grace I will try to sin no more, but instead to live as a faithful disciple of Christ. Amen.
Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. Amen.
Act of Reception: O Lord, since I cannot now receive thee sacramentally, I beseech thee to come spiritually into my heart. I unite myself unto thee, and embrace thee with all the affections of my soul. Let me never be separated from thee. Let me live in thy love as thy disciple. Amen.
Come, Lord Jesus and dwell in me in the fulness of thy strength, in the perfection of thy ways, and in the holiness of thy spirit, to the glory of God our Father. Amen.
May the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ preserve my body and soul unto everlasting life. Amen.
Psalm 15: LORD, who shall dwell in thy tabernacle? or who shall rest upon thy holy hill?
Even he that leadeth an uncorrupt life, and doeth the thing which is right, and speaketh the truth from his heart.
He that hath used no deceit in his tongue, nor done evil to his neighbour, and hath not slandered his neighbour.
He that setteth not by himself, but is lowly in his own eyes, and maketh much of them that fear the LORD.
He that sweareth unto his neighbour, and disappointeth him not, though it were to his own hindrance.
He that hath not given his money upon usury, nor taken reward against the innocent.
Whoso doeth these things shall never fall.
Close with the Grace: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore. Amen.
WHEN WILL PUBLIC SERVICES RESUME?
That is the question on everyone’s mind! We all look forward to the day when public Services can resume. And that day is coming…
Governor Pete Ricketts of Nebraska has already announced that hospitals may resume elective surgeries and dentists may begin offering general dentistry on Monday, May 4th. He has also said that a new Directed Health Measure for May is being formulated and will be issued soon. If the measure allows public Services to resume we could be back together as early as Sunday, May 10th.
This does not mean that the coronavirus has gone away. It only means that we have so far flattened the curve and the health care system has not been overwhelmed. Early this morning I read:
“The U.S. death toll from the novel coronavirus is expected to reach 50,000 on Friday, doubling in 10 days and the highest in the world, according to a Reuters tally.
About 875,000 Americans have contracted the highly contagious respiratory illness COVID-19 caused by the virus, and on average about 2,000 have died every day this month, according to a Reuters tally.”
You can read the article here:
Even when restrictions are eased, we must all remain vigilant and prudent in what we do and where we go, while maintaining careful social distancing and good hygiene, including obsessive hand washing, in order to protect our heath and that of others.
At Holy Cross parish we have always been ahead of the curve. Back in February we began to make changes to protect the health of our church family, including in the way we administered Holy Communion. Those changes will remain in place when public Services resume.
When we do resume public Services we will very likely begin with just one Service at 10:00 AM, and will maintain careful social distancing, with everyone leaving immediately after the conclusion of worship. The last activity to be resumed will be Bible and Brunch. Unfortunately, our lives and daily activities will not fully return to normal until we have a vaccine and effective treatments for those who become ill — but that day will come.
I will keep you informed and announce the date of the resumption of public Services when the information becomes available. Until then, let us continue to pray for wisdom for the civil magistrates who are ministers of God for our good (Romans 13”1-7), for our health care providers who put themselves in harms way every day, for national and worldwide repentance, reformation and revival, and for an end to this terrible pandemic.
“When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:13-14).
PRAYERS FOR PROTECTION AND HEALING
Way back on Sunday, March 8th, we joined in praying Prayers for Protection and Healing that were sent out by the Messianic community in the Land of Israel. God has really answered the prayers of our brethren in the Holy Land.
Despite the fact that the coronavirus pestilence hit Israel about the same time as it hit the United States, the people of Israel have been largely spared. As of this morning, Israel has 14,882 confirmed cases, with only 193 fatalities and 107 on ventilators. Think about that next time someone tells you that God has “rejected” the Jewish people, that “the Church” has replaced Israel, that God has no further plans to use the people of Israel, that the promises made to Israel have been transferred to another group, or that Israel is not the centre and focus of End Time Bible prophecy. You can read about the Covid-19 situation in Israel here:
Compare the figures from Israel with those of the United States. I just checked the statistics for the US and the UK as I am writing this update:
“The US death toll from the coronavirus pandemic has just surpassed 50,000, according to a running tally by Johns Hopkins University.
According to the tracker, 50,031 people have now died in the US from COVID-19 since the start of the global health crisis, with more than 870,000 confirmed cases.”
Great Britain now has nearly 20,000 coronavirus deaths:
“The British government says 684 more people with the coronavirus have died in UK hospitals, increasing the total reported to 19,506.
That’s higher than 616 deaths in the previous 24-hour period. There has been increasing scrutiny of the UK figures for understating the actual number of coronavirus-related deaths because they don’t include deaths in care homes or elsewhere in the community.
The UK’s death toll is the fourth highest in Europe, behind Italy, Spain and France, all of whom have reported more than 20,000 deaths.”
If you are not already praying the Prayers for Protection and Healing sent out by our brethren in Israel, you can begin today. Just print them off and include them in your daily prayers. You will find them here:
Prayers for Protection and Healing
SUNDAY MORNING PRAYER — 10:00 AM
Although we cannot now gather together for worship, we can still pray Morning Prayer from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer or the English Office Noted together on Sunday morning at 10:00 AM. Although we will all be in our own homes we will be united in “the communion of saints” (Apostles’ Creed). Let us raise our prayers to heaven together, remember one another in prayer, and pray for an end to this pestilence.
CRADLE OF PRAYER
By accessing Cradle of Prayer you can pray along as daily Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer are sung. What a beautiful way to give glory to God and to bless your day! You can access these Services on demand. Here is the link:
TITHES AND OFFERINGS
Please remember that just because we cannot meet for Services does not mean that the Work of our church does not go on or that the bills don’t keep coming in. They do!
We have many financial obligations to meet, and during this time of crisis our outreach and ministry is even more important than ever. We need to keep everything going smoothly so when the crisis passes we can simply return and pick up where we left off.
God’s plan for advancing His Work in the world is through the Tithes and Offerings of the faithful. PLEASE be sure to keep up with your regular Tithes and Offerings, and consider sending a little more if you can. Do it today...
Through our radio ministry we are reaching people in our area, all across the nation, and around the world with solid Biblical teaching. This is a very important ministry, especially at a time when churches are closed and people are cut off. The Faith Once Delivered radio broadcast can serve as a lifeline, but it is also very expensive.
If you live outside the Omaha area and have benefited from our teaching ministry through our weekly Updates, our radio ministry, my Blog, or through written correspondence or telephone conversations with me, I would encourage you to support our work as well. Together, we can impact many lives. Thank you!
You can send a check to:
Holy Cross Orthodox Church
7545 Main Street
Ralston, Nebraska 68127
Or you can contribute by Credit Card by going to our parish website and donating online. You will find a Donate button on the home page of our website. It’s safe and secure through PayPal. Here is the link to our parish website:
FOR YOUR LEARNING AND EDIFICATION
I am attaching for you links to some important articles for your learning and edification. I hope that you will take the time to read them. They will strengthen you spiritually and bless your soul.
The first is from Gerhard Pfandl, Ph.D., former Associate Director of the Biblical Research Institute, in Silver Spring, Maryland. It is titled, Why the Bible is Historically Reliable! You really need to read this important article, and then share it with your skeptical, liberal or unbelieving family members and friends. It may well get them thinking , and open their hearts to the Gospel. Here is the link:
Why the Bible is Historically Reliable!
The spade indeed confirms the Good Book!
Are you standing on the rock, and is your name written on the roll?
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith’” (Romans 1:16-17).
Could a Revival be coming?
Check out this headline: Coronavirus outbreak spurs record Bible purchases: ‘People are looking for hope’
Record Bible purchases! People are indeed looking for hope. That is why our radio ministry is so important! You can read the article here:
Coronavirus outbreak spurs record Bible purchases: ‘People are looking for hope’
I am also hearing a lot of reports that the slower pace of life and more time spent at home with family due to the pandemic is renewing and healing marriages, bringing parents and children closer together, restoring family meals, making parents the primary educators of their children once again, and revitalizing families. This is good news indeed!
As always, God is bringing good out of tragedy. The question is, will we learn from this or merely return to our old ways when the crisis passes? Let us never go back to our old ways. Instead, let us “press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).
What about Reformation?
Are we willing to be reformed in light of God’s Word written? We talk about being Bible-believing Christians, but do we really mean it?
I am attaching for you an article from a SECULAR news site that you really must read. It is titled,
Biblically Unclean Animals Responsible for Pandemics — 'Is it possible we've been ignoring the practicality and divine instructions?'
“Nearly every influenza pandemic for the last 1,000 years would have been prevented if the Bible's prohibition against "unclean" animals had been headed, argues Bible teacher David Rives… ‘Do you find it even slightly curious that this pandemic — responsible for countless tens of thousands of deaths around the world — originated from what appears to be the consumption of BATS in China?’ Such animals are ‘here for good reasons,’ Rivas said, such as cleaning the environment. But eating them is not one of those reasons.”
The Bible tells us clearly and repeatedly that there are clean and unclean animals, animals that may be eaten and those that we are forbidden to eat. Certain animals, birds, fish and sea creatures are unclean, and God does not want anyone eating them. These laws are not about “old Jewish rituals,” but are health laws that God has given us for our good.
Noah knew all about clean and unclean animals. The animals did NOT go into the Ark “two by two” as we like to think. The Bible is clear on the matter. Noah took seven of each clean animal, but only two of each unclean animal. With vegetation destroyed by the great flood, God allowed animals to be eaten as a condescension to circumstances. That is why Noah brought seven of each clean animal with him. God said,
“You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female; also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth” (Genesis 7:2-3).
You can read the whole article here:
Biblically unclean animals responsible for pandemics — 'Is it possible we've been ignoring the practicality and divine instructions?'
You can quickly learn which animals are clean and which are unclean by reading Leviticus chapter 11 and/or Deuteronomy chapter 14.
But those laws were just for the Jews, right?
That’s not what the Scriptures tell us. Are the Ten Commandments “just for the Jews”? Are the Old Covenant Scriptures (more than 2/3rds of the Bible) “just for the Jews”? God is no respecter of persons. The Scriptures are clear that there is “one law” for everyone, Jew and “Gentile” alike (Exodus 12:49; Numbers 15:16; Numbers 15:29-31).
Christ dying on the cross did not change the anatomy of a bat, a dog, a cat or a pig. If they were unfit for human consumption in Jesus’ day they are unfit today. Does God only want the Jewish people to be healthy, or does He want everyone to live a healthy lifestyle?
When you buy a new car you read the owners manual to learn what to put in the tank and how to take care of the vehicle. The Bible is the owners manual for human life. Isn’t it time that we learn from the owners manual what to put in our stomachs and how to properly take care of our bodies? After all, we are Christians, not Platonists, aren’t we?
A New Normal.
With the coronavirus pandemic there is no realistic chance of the “old normal” fully returning until after a vaccine and effective treatments for the sick can be developed. A vaccine is likely a year to eighteen months away we are told. But even after we have a vaccine, how long will it take to manufacture 330 million doses for Americans, let alone for the 6 billion people in the world?
Perhaps God wants us to bury the old normal and to reach out for a new, better normal? I am attaching for you an article titled, Was Our New Normal Provided So That We Could Escape Our Old Normal? I encourage you to read it. Here is the link:
Was Our New Normal Provided So That We Could Escape Our Old Normal?
The Coronavirus pandemic should be a wakeup call for us all. Bible prophecy is rapidly being fulfilled. The hour is late. The night is far spent, but a bright and golden dawn is fast approaching. We are indeed in the End Times. Jesus is coming again and there will be a great family reunion!
“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.’ Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful.’
“And He said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son’” (Revelation 21:1-7).
O happy day!
I am attaching for you a wonderful old hymn that will touch your heart, lift your spirit and bless your soul. I hope that you will listen to the music video and share it with others. The hymn is titled It May be at Morn — Christ Returneth. Here is the link:
It May be at Morn — Christ Returneth
Maranatha — O Lord Come!
THE FAITH ONCE DELIVERED RADIO BROADCAST — Saturday at 9:30 AM
The Faith Once Delivered radio broadcast can be heard in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa on AM and FM radio, or anywhere in the world over the Internet.
Each broadcast is an in-depth Bible study. We let the Scriptures speak for themselves rather than reading them through the lens of human tradition. A lot of important information is packed into every 30 minute broadcast. These broadcasts are solid spiritual food, not milk.
THE FAITH ONCE DELIVERED is heard every Saturday morning at 9:30 AM Central Daylight Time on KCRO Radio 660 AM in Omaha, and 106.7 FM in Lincoln, and can be heard throughout eastern Nebraska and western Iowa.
Not in eastern Nebraska or western Iowa? No problem! You can listen live over the Internet. Just go to the KCRO Radio website and click Listen Live:
THE FAITH ONCE DELIVERED — PODCASTS
In addition to the radio broadcast every Saturday morning at 9:30 AM Central Daylight Time on KCRO Radio 660 AM in Omaha and 106.7 FM in Lincoln, each episode of THE FAITH ONCE DELIVERED is being archived and can be listened to anytime as a Podcast. You can access past radio programs here:
We will all be back together soon. Until then, you are in our thoughts and prayers. You are loved! Stand fast in the faith once delivered (Jude 3), and pray for one another!
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love”
(1 Corinthians 13:13).
Let us gather in our homes, united in the communion of saints, and pray Morning Prayer together on Sunday morning at 10:00 AM CDT. We’ll see you at the throne of grace!
HOLY CROSS ORTHODOX CHURCH
7545 Main Street
Ralston, Nebraska 68127