THE “YES” PART
I don’t have any problem with some churches deciding to open under certain laws that are foreign to what a church should ideally look like. Preferably, some of us wished that we waited so that we won’t have to compromise on the integrity of the church and our Lord Jesus Christ. However, it appears that not every church and individual have enough oil in their lamps to burn until we rid ourselves of this virus.
Also, some members are eager and willing to come to church even under these martial laws. What do you do with such people? Do you force your faith on them and say that it is weird that we gather under such laws in the house of God, so we are not going to open the church? Certainly not. Those people do not yet have the level of understanding you have as the leader. They have not risen to your kind of faith yet. For that reason, one has to make a sacrifice. And it is the pastor or leader who has to make that sacrifice and say that though it does not sound ok to gather in the house of God under such ridiculous laws, for the sake of my members who do not have my level of endurance, faith and spiritual understanding, I have to open and help them grow as well. Usually, it is the stronger who makes the sacrifice so that the weak can feed or be free. Jesus came down to our level when we couldn’t come up to him so that through his death and resurrection we can be seated up with him far above. Again, like Paul said to the Corinthians, “For your sake, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some.”
For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews, I became a Jew, to win Jews. To those under the law, I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law, I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak, I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means, I might save some.” I Corinthians 9:19-22
THE “NO” PART
However, however, however! We must make it clear to the members that this is not the normal thing that should be happening in the house of God and stop this “new normal” thing! What is so beautiful and fashionable about a virus like this that we should glorify in the house of God?! I say this because it looks like some pastors have abandoned the faith and are behaving like virologists instead of men of God. They are speaking like medical experts instead of pastors. For example, it is unheard of for a pastor to stand behind the pulpit and tell the children of our Lord Jesus that “if any of them feels or even thinks he or she is sick he should stay home.” Meaning they shouldn’t come to Jesus or the temple! When in the Bible people were carrying the sick to Jesus to receive healing?! When some religious leaders talk like this it makes some of us wonder whether Jesus is still the one in charge of the church or it is the Christian council or someone else? The medical experts can talk like that. But if we say the church belongs to Jesus, then we must run it with his constitution which is the Bible. Not what some so-called medical experts are saying.
“Whose report have you believed? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?”
Don’t give more attention to the virus and make Jesus look powerless and insignificant in his father’s house. Don’t put this virus in the faces of the members to the extent that they can no more see Jesus Christ. Don’t be so eager to please men to the extent that you begin to offend and insult the integrity of Christ by your actions. Remember, any tree that has been planted that the Lord did not plant shall be uprooted by its roots.
Respectfully, let us not make this virus a big deal in the church. If God cannot protect his children then our protocols can’t! Unless the Lord watches, the watchman stands guard in vain. Like I have said, yes, let us try and do something to show that we are adhering to the protocols but let us not make it the centre of attention for it to overshadow Christ and the faith. Give the people some breathing space. Don’t appoint mercenaries to be breathing down on their necks because of some virus. They are not on military grounds. They are in their Father’s house for God’s sake!