Here are four reminders of what you can do in midst of all the uncertainty and head-spinning changes. I’ve carved these out of tomorrow’s sermon so we can stay focused on Romans 8:28. Much more could be said, but this is enough for today.
1. Be humble. No one knows what will happen or how bad things will get or could get. No one imagined we would be where we are today, even a week or two ago. What we know is that God’s common grace restrains evil, sickness and death, so if He lifts that common grace, what is possible?
God’s common grace is like the great Hoover Dam on the Colorado River. In a world deserving His wrath every moment, common grace is constantly holding back that flood of deserved justice. COVID-19 is in one sense God allowing one tiny flood gate to be opened. That multiple, simultaneous pandemics a thousand times worse are not happening is common grace. So don’t say you know this will be nothing. Or you know we will rise up and conquer COVID-19. We don’t know anything of the sort. We do know we are dependent on God’s common grace to restrain pandemics and preserve all life.
2. Be educated. We are not infectious disease experts and even the experts know so little. We are dealing with chemical, biological, environmental and cellular complexities known only to God. Man’s understanding of these things is great and growing, but still only scratching the surface. Let’s respect the knowledge gained by scientist and the medical profession, glean and understand what we can, all without looking to them to be our savior. Be educated, not enamored or dismissive. Be educated, neither arrogant nor ignorant.
3. Be submissive. God has placed governing authorities over us and we are called to honor and submit to them until that submission clearly violates God’s commands. For now, wisdom, love and testimony to unbelievers all dictate we honor our Governor and President and refrain from groups of ten or more. Romans 13 applies both to individual Christians and the church made up of individual Christians. Keep in mind we are not being singled out as Christians here (that would change everything!). Bars and clubs and sports and gyms are closed by executive order. This is not persecution. In fact the governing authorities have intentionally and wisely left churches out of the wording because our freedom to gather is protected by the Constitution. We are submitting in love and voluntarily, not under compulsion.
4. Love your neighbor. We must balance our desire to gather with our testimony to a watching world and love for neighbor. A church that stubbornly gathers in midst of a plague, endangering healthy members and the community, is not walking in love of neighbor or each other. Now, this is where great wisdom is needed. Depending on how long this goes on and how bad or not bad it gets, we will have to balance out our obedience to assemble in public worship with these other principles of “honoring the king”, of loving neighbor by not spreading disease, of being aware of our testimony as unbelievers drive by church parking lots. Not only unbelievers, but our gathering or not gathering could also be a stumbling block to your Christian brother or sister, bringing Romans 14 into play. Many biblical principles are at stake. For now, we will make the most of our technology and not gather, doing so with a clear conscience before God and man.
So, tune into our Livestream Sunday morning at 10:30 via our web site.
And forward this to others who might benefit.
Finally, have grace for your pastors as we attempt something tomorrow morning none of us have ever done – sing and play and preach to a camera.
Gather as couples and families and participate as much as possible. Also, realize that we are doing our best from a technology standpoint. Most Livestream issues are not on our side as we monitor what is actually going out on the internet and correct problems on the fly.
In His love and peace,