Oh what a difference one day can make! By now I’m sure most of you are aware of our government’s most recent recommendations regarding containing the coronavirus. Here’s a link if you haven’t:
The recommendation that concerns us the most as a church is the one that limits public meetings to less than 10 persons. After listening to the president, vice president, and the team of medical experts this morning, and consulting with the elders earlier today, we’ve decided that cancelling services for the next two weeks is the right thing to do at this time. Biblically, there are two prevailing commands to consider: First and foremost, our Lord Jesus establishes love for God and love for neighbor (Mt. 22:39) as preeminent over all other laws. This command is compelling when it comes to all people doing all they can to help prevent the spread of this deadly virus to other people. For Christians to dismiss, downplay, or otherwise ignore our government’s recommendations would be a failure to love our neighbor.
Second, Scripture calls us to submit to our ruling authorities: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good…. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.” Romans 13:1-5
White House response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx intimated that the new guidelines for prevention of viral spread, “will only work if every American takes this to heart.” There’s no debate that this pandemic is highly contagious. The spread is rapid and the number of infected persons is rising at an alarming rate all across the globe. And until we get a handle on who has the virus and who may be carrying the virus, the only effective measure to slow it down is to shut public meetings down and ramp up testing in all communities as quickly as humanly possible. As Christians we should take this seriously.
Finally, Christians should be characterized by their strong faith in God, their fearlessness in the face of adversity, their humble submissiveness to authority, and their willingness to serve the needs of others in their community. As believers we possess a calm and steady spirit, exercising biblical wisdom at all times, in all events. Our confidence lies in the sovereign care of our wise, omnipotent, and loving Lord. Let’s look for the good that comes out of all this, and glorify our God whose judgments are perfect, whose plans are wise, whose ways are unsearchable, and whose intentions are always good.
Tomorrow, Charles and I will be meeting to review the technology necessary that will allow me to preach over the Internet (something I had hoped to avoid as you know). Pray with me that God would bring a swift end to this virus and the pain, death, and social separation it brings.
Glory to God in all things,