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Some people wear masks because they think that masks may help to prevent someone from getting the virus. They cite their experts, leaders, and blogs and say “love one another.”

Some people don’t wear masks because they think that it doesn’t help to prevent someone from getting the virus, and it even may be more harmful in some cases. They cite their experts, leaders, and blogs and say “love one another.”

Some people wear masks because they believe that it honors God to defer to the authority that is ordering it, no matter how crooked the authority may be. They cite Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2.

Some people do not wear masks because they believe the order is one of many illegal violations of state and federal law. They believe that the state and federal law has been ordained by God through human government and must be obeyed and honored in order to stem the tide of an ever eroding way of life which is conducive to a free spread of the gospel. They cite 1 Timothy 2, Romans 13, 1 Peter 2.

Some people truly think that the virus is uniquely harmful. They cite their experts and statistics.

Some people truly think that the virus is no more harmful than any other virus that we experience from year to year. They cite their experts and statistics.

Some people say that we need to follow all the precautionary measures not because we truly think that the virus is uniquely harmful or because we think masks may help, but because we need to humbly consider those, more important than ourselves, who do think that way.

Some people say that if we follow all the precautionary measures that we are affirming the fear of many people, giving in to deception, and not ministering to one another the way that Christ commands us to.

I can see valid points in all these perspectives.

I know that some of you may be cocked and aimed at some of the statements above, while others are cocked and aimed at others, ready to forward your arguments.

I am suggesting that each of us do what our conscience allows and live as we discern the Scriptures to lead us.

But I think we need to be done discussing masks so much. It has become a distraction from things that matter so much more, particularly in this season. It has become a tool of separation and division when it should not. It has tempted us to think less affectionately and lovingly of one another when it shouldn’t.

There are things that should divide people: “masks” is not one of them.
There are discussions among believers that are worth filling our minds and consuming millions of words on the internet: “masks” is not one of them.

This is a season when we as Christ’s church need to see our deficiencies in confessional and practical unity and our distraction from the calling to which Christ has called us and by God’s grace pull together to grow in our obedience to unity and calling. (Ephesians 4:1-16; Philippians 2; Matthew 28:19-20)

The mask discussion is not helping with this.

May the Lord open our eyes and grant us His perspective and His wisdom. I need it and so do you. (James 1:5)

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. – James 3:17

Good Friday Service

Dear Calvary Church Family,

Please permit me a change in this week’s scheduling, beloved. Yesterday I was drawn to think more deeply about sharing the Lord’s Table with you all through Facebook Live. While I know that none of the things we are doing as a local church right now through live-streaming are normal to body life and should not be considered a replacement for the local body of Christ gathered together, I believe that sharing the Lord’s Table through a live-stream takes our unusual church practices for these unusual times farther than I am comfortable with going. We will still be enjoying a Good Friday live-stream service, Lord willing, just without sharing the Lord’s table. Here are the reasons for my saying this:
1. Sharing the symbols of the body and blood of Christ cannot appropriately happen unless we are gathered as a local body.
2. Sharing the symbols of the body and blood of Christ cannot appropriately happen unless we are indeed sharing visually from the same bread and the same drink.
3. Sharing the symbols of the body and blood of Christ cannot appropriately happen unless it is served by the elders of the church and therefore under their careful oversight.
4. Sharing the symbols of the body and blood of Christ must always be enjoyed in the most exalted way we can by the grace of God.
5. It is good for all of us to look forward with eager anticipation to the holy joy of the physical, face to face gathering of the body of Christ, and additionally the unique and glorious celebration of sharing the symbols of the body and blood of Christ at His Table, proclaiming His death to one another while waiting for His return to see Him face to face.
(These thoughts are implications from texts that teach the Lord’s Supper – Matthew 26; Mark 14; Luke 22: 1 Corinthians 11 – while these thoughts aren’t necessarily commanded directly.  We will teach through this, Lord willing, in detail, in the days ahead.)

I love each of you and look forward very very much to the day when God allows us to share the bread and the cup together again face to face.  This makes me wonder how much our LORD anticipates sharing the bread and the cup with us His blood bought church on the day He returns (Matthew 26:29). “Come quickly Lord Jesus!”

For Him and His glory,
Brian Swillum

Good Friday Lord’s Supper Service

Dear Church Family,

”For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes!”  1 Corinthians 11:26

Typically we share the Lord’s Supper together as a church family once a month, but I often wish we could do it more frequently.  I find that my heart soars the highest during the Lord’s Supper because my spiritual eyes, ears, and mouth are invited to feast on the body and blood of our precious Lord Jesus Christ in a unique way, and my faith is strengthened!  He indeed is the Bread of Life that came down from heaven and gives life to the world!  This April we, out of necessity, will be sharing our Good Friday Lord’s Supper Service online.  And I am grateful and thrilled that the Spirit of Christ will be just as near to us in our homes as He is when we are gathered at our meeting house.  We can still enter into fellowship with one another, joined by the Spirit of Christ, as we partake of the symbols of Christ’s body and blood, remembering and proclaiming to one another His death until He returns.  And maybe He will return while we are at His table on Good Friday!  Come quickly Lord Jesus!  So here is how we are going to share at the Lord’s Table together while online:

1. Take the time before hand to get everything ready so that when we begin our live stream on Good Friday at 7:00pm everyone is all set.
2. Prepare bread and juice for you and your family to share during the online Lord’s Supper service.
3. Download and print the song sheets that we will have available for you on our church website.  They will be found under the menu tab labeled “song sheets.”
4. Please continue to pray that the technology side of things will work well so that all may enjoy the fellowship without added distraction.
5. And please pray that the Lord will edify His people through the proclamation of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ, and even those who may be listening who do not know the Lord as Savior will be convicted of their sin and trust in Christ alone for His righteousness and atonement to make them right with God.

With the affection of Christ,
Brian Swillum