What do you do if you are a Christian and find yourself 250-miles above the earth on the first day of the week? You remember the body and blood of Jesus and declare the death of your Savior and Lord (I Corinthians 11:23-26)! That is what astronaut Victor Glover is doing on the International Space Station.
Glover is the first black crew member on a long-duration mission, a Navy fighter pilot who flew combat missions in Iraq, and a Christian who worships with the League City Church of Christ near Houston. Glover made news last week when he announced he arranged for communion cups and his Bible to be packed onto the Space X, Dragon capsule that launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Glover says the pandemic helped prepare him for worship in space, “I will probably continue in what we’ve been doing: virtual service, virtual giving, reading my Bible and praying1.” Much like some of our senior and/or more vulnerable members, Glover could not risk a Coronavirus infection. So, he has been assembling with the saints through on-line services. Taking that practice into space only required a faithful heart and a little preparation.
The naval aviator will be in orbit for six-months. Lord willing he will return to a country with a dramatically reduced chance of developing COVID-19. But Glover didn’t want to go half a year without the Lord’s supper. Thanks to a good internet connection (Yes, even in space), he will be able to assemble with the saints of his local church in Houston while traveling five-miles-per second and circling the globe in just 90-minutes.
Glover was faced with a decision. Since he was going to be physically unable to assemble in body, should he take communion while in space? Thanks to modern technology, he can pray, sing, contribute, and participate in the body and blood of Jesus in spirit (I Corinthians 5:3; Colossians 2:5). Paul refers to Christians in different cities this way, “we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.”-I Corinthians 10:17. At the time the Holy Spirit breathed those words into Paul, the apostle (in Ephesus) was roughly 350-miles from disciples (in Corinth) he described as one body eating one loaf.
How encouraging is this man’s story of faith! For those of us assembling with the saints online, we can know we have a fellow child of God thinking the same things, partaking of the same elements, and remembering our mutual Savior.
Commander Glover’s story leads me to a gentle reminder. Online services can lead us into “forsaking the assembly” territory. If livestreams become an excuse to, “have it on in the boat” you are forsaking an assembly you could attend. Taking the Lord’s supper online, is not a substitute for attending services. Attend the services in spirit and with your flesh. Sing the songs. Eat the bread. Drink the cup. Pray. Learn from the teaching. Worship from home should be no different from meeting at the building. The same goes for Bible study.
Before COVID-19, members at North Second Street were expected to assemble for worship and Bible study on Sundays and Wednesdays. Nothing has changed! Faithful servants of Jesus assemble every time the saints come together. Anything less is to forsake. Victor Glover wouldn’t miss services for the world. Even when he is looking down on it from the heavens.