Among the lepers

Church bulletin:

Sometimes people withdraw from society for health reasons – it could be for the sake of their own health or for the sake of others. In the current Covid-19 context, older people and those with pre-existing conditions isolate in order to safeguard their well-being. Those who have contracted the Coronavirus isolate in order to protect the rest of the community and prevent the spread of the illness. No one would argue with either case. From a Christian perspective, it is important to be concerned for the welfare of our neighbor, and it is important to obey the law of the land.

Many Christians however are becoming frustrated with the apparent overreach when it comes to restrictions placed upon the church. The church seems to be at the top of the list when restrictions apply, the restrictions go beyond what is expected elsewhere and the church is last as restrictions are eased. Unlike pubs, clubs, cafes, restaurants, sporting events and many other gatherings, the church is not considered to be an essential service. What truly baffles are the churches that go further than government requirements. As of December, some churches are still not meeting together by choice.

A few brief thoughts
* While Christians are not to be seditious, neither are we to place the will of man over the will of God. Should governing authorities unnecessarily and unfairly impinge upon the practice of faith, Acts 5:29 kicks in.

* Church is an essential “service” which should not be easily set aside. It is essential for the worship of God who commands His people to gather. It is essential for the spiritual health of Christians. It is essential for reaching the world with the Gospel. Church leaders who are not doing everything possible to facilitate church meetings have lost all sense of Biblical priorities.

* Too many Christians seem to be settling into a kind of spiritual inertia – comfortable with Zoom meetings, rosters, and less responsibilities. I have heard several pastors complain that their people refer to ‘doing church on-line’. There is no such thing. Doing church on-line is like doing marriage on-line. You kind of lose something. This situation should be driving us to prayer, not luring us into complacency.

* Physical health is important, and we are not to be careless, but it is not the most important thing. Jesus taught us to not worry about those who can kill the body but to fear the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Pandemic or not, every day we run the risk of illness, accident and death. Like Christ among the lepers and in the midst of hostile authorities, we need to commit ourselves to the care of our heavenly Father.

• This hour demands of us wisdom – to know how best to navigate the complexities we face
• This hour demands of us faith – to trust God and to look to Him in His Word and through prayer
• This hour demands of us strength – to obey and serve God in every situation whatever the cost

May the Lord of Hosts be a strong tower to those who love Him.