Greetings from the High Seas of this current adventure. We, as a state and nation, are tentatively taking steps to reopen our society and economy to the new normal. There are not assurances as to when and how this will actually be achieved. No one really knows what the new will look like. Most hope it will be the same. Probably not.
The virus is here to stay. There are many promises that we will see a repeat of restrictions this fall. Executive orders and news reports promote social behavior founded on fear and authoritative oversight. Compliance has resulted in dramatic disruptions in life including the closing of faith gatherings. We do not know how long these changes will continue.
SO where is the question. How long can a body of believers not gather in person and still function as the church/bride/family/body of Christ?
There is not a hard and fast answer. His story reveals that the body has excelled through every sort of challenge and persecution. God is Sovereign and Supreme. He knows what is coming and still gave us instructions of how to respond as a body. Some practices seem to be intended to be continuous:
1. The right hand of fellowship.
2. Sharing being made in God’s image. (Not covering our faces.)
3. Holy Kiss or hugs or physical touch.
4. Laying on of hands in prayer.
5. Anointing with oil.
6. Praising Him with song and psalms together.
7. Breaking Bread.
9. Giving testimony to His greatness.
11. Bearing one another’s burdens.
12. Exhorting, encouraging and correcting.
13. Loving one another.
Our faith is expressed in fellowship and not distance. Church is more than 3 songs, 2 prayers and a message.
Note, I am not promoting total disregard for the health concerns of others or ourselves. I am not initiating civil disobedience against our elected leaders. I am declaring the need to do everything possible to find a way to meet together. If it means having 15 gathering times a week, do it. If it means re-configuring our meeting space, do it. If it means going out of our way to accommodate the current situation, do it. If it means dividing large bodies into many smaller bodies, do it. If it means waiting until we can have it the old way, forget it. Life and faith can not be put on hold until the government says, “Ok”. Nor can we wait until a vaccine makes it safe.
Safe, is not a Biblical concept on this side of eternity. Yes, we are secure in the assurance of our salvation. Security, has nothing to do with a guarantee that we will not be attacked, threatened, challenged nor persecuted. In fact, the name of Jesus guarantees just the opposite.
Going forward we must find a way to gather. Gathering is not the only part but a key part of body life. We must take all the prudent precautions to minimized getting sick or making others sick. We must embrace that there is risk and be willing to deal with it. Family member take care of each other.
What are we afraid of? Will a new virus kill us before age, life style, accident or another disease does? And if we die, are we not excited about where we will go?
Do we fear financial fines, jail time or public criticism? Believers have faced these for centuries. Our world has changed. We get to change with it. Now is a time to declare that Jesus is on the throne. Now is a time to say obedience is better that sacrifice.
The adventure is before us. Few of us have faced anything like this before. We serve the One and only True God! Fear not! Trust in Him with all your heart! We are the dangerous ones! The world can not abide by the light that we bear through Jesus Christ. In reality we are the virus. We carry the infectious Good News of Jesus Christ. Wherever we go we expose others to saving grace. The only way to keep it contained is to shelter it in place. Be bold! Be Brave! For the LORD you God is with you.
Consider anew how you can be a carrier of life to those facing death.
Because He Lives,