As a teen growing up, I did an unhealthy and incalculable amount of stupid things. I used to have my friends shoot me with my bb gun. “I can take it!” I would jump from my roof onto the trampoline and then over the fence into the front yard. Why not? Then other days I would surf on top of my car after watching Teen Wolf. Remember that movie? This was done for one of two reasons: to impress people or make them laugh.
There’s a certain amount of boldness that I wanted to project from my life. “I’m not scared! Oh you think that’s impressive? Watch this!” Call it boys being boys or something similar. Now that I’m a Christian and pastor, I still find some of that same sense of wanting to express my courage. But now instead of jumping my bike off a huge ramp, or having my friends hit me with my car to show I could be a stuntman if I wanted (this is why my body hurts now), I channel most of that into my faith in following Jesus. After all, we are called to take up our cross and follow Him. We’re implored repeatedly to not fear. Right?
Now here’s where this gets tricky. Maybe better said, this is where we need to use biblical hermeneutics and common sense. There is a time to be bold, stand strong, and have faith that God is in control, when you have to go against the powers that be. Typically this is thought of when the government, or society makes laws against our faith. This is seen throughout the Bible. I’m reminded of Peter and John in Acts standing before the Sanhedrin being told to not speak of Jesus anymore. Peter and John said, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” In the Old Testament you might think of Daniel, or Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego. The boldness and defiance against the government when speaking about Christ or living for God is a much different situation than working against a virus that is spreading. That’s why our current situation with coronavirus and the impending call for us to suspend meetings , are apples and oranges.
The time is most likely coming when we shouldn’t meet at all as a congregation. It is not a weak stance or a lack of faith if you do. It could even be viewed as being reckless to meet together during this time. And I don’t mean the Cory Asbury use of reckless love either.
So the way I see it, we should prepare for what is coming. We want this sickness to be eradicated and for it to cause the least amount of trouble as possible. So, if we have to abstain from meeting publicly for a week or a few for the sake of containing a virus, then so be it. Let’s have a perspective change. Instead of seeing this as bad, inconvenient, or the end of Christianity as we know it (I’ve seen articles and talks that hyperbolically hinted at this), let’s investigate alternatives. Go completely online. Who says we can’t have messages? The main thing is, let’s be safe and contain the virus from spreading. So in keeping with that and if we can’t meet in our churches, go facebook live. We’re in a unique time where technology can be utilized to keep our connection with each other. Connect with your people now. Talk about your options. Plan for online meetings or facebook live. Get creative. Use this time and the fear and uncertainty people are feeling now as a way to hear their questions and draw them to God.
Paul reminds us of our connection to God by faith. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” So what’s a week or a few where we have to shake it up a little with regards to being the church? As long as we know that we are in Christ and still connected with each other, it doesn’t matter if our meetings are a little modified. In fact, like I said, with the hysteria and intrigue in end times that inevitably comes with uncertainties like this virus, the church has an opportunity that may not be available otherwise. Stay strong church. God is still God. He is and always has been in control. So let’s take His words to heart and not stress. Rely fully on Him and let the world see that no matter what, we believe and trust Him.