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Thursday, August 30, 2012


Paul makes a statement in 1 Corinthians 5 about being with the Corinthian church in Spirit. That used to be a fairly common statement especially among church people.

“I can’t be there, but I am with you in Spirit.”

I suppose I am glad we no longer hear that much because the statement was weakened by its use as an excuse for not being at church because of work or a vacation or a ball game or an ox rigorously pushed into the ditch.

But I do think we ought to grasp the full meaning of this phrase. It should especially be used with missionaries serving overseas and for anyone whose heart we genuinely connect with.
Connecting with someone by the Holy Spirit means groaning with the Spirit that groans with someone we care about. Paul used this phrase to address a church in the midst of crisis. Being with someone in Spirit means sharing the burden of a Holy Spirit inspired purpose and vision.

Being with someone in Spirit surely includes prayer. Sometime after my cancer and treatments had reduced my endurance I was involved in an outdoor crusade. I preached the first night. But I was too exhausted to go the next night. So I spent the whole time of the service praying for the preacher, the people and the neighborhood where the crusade was held. I was with them in Spirit.

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