Well, March was certainly different than January or February. April promises more change.
To say that we are living through unprecedented times is an understatement, but descriptive language comes up short. The church has endured and ministered in many crises, but our isolation makes this situation unique.
For our congregation, Covenant Baptist, I want us to keep a few things in mind.
First, be aware that the newness of digital church will wear off.
Your encouragement to me, the other staff, and those behind the scenes regarding our Facebook Live and YouTube videos is greatly appreciated. If this virus had hit just ten years ago, we would not be able to do what we are doing. God has provided these means for us to continue to grow in the Word.
However, streaming services are not a substitute for in person worship. The funny “when we go back to church” memes and gifs we’ve seen and shared show that we understand the importance of our gatherings.
There is a reason that Hebrews 10:23-25 says, “23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”
I thank God that we can connect by streaming video, but I can’t wait for the day we’re back in our “regular” seats.
Second, pay attention to yourself and your state of mind while isolated.
The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are in constant and eternal communion. Because God created us in His image, we need fellowship and community. Since we can’t be together, watch for signs of depression. Have a plan for each day. Stick to a schedule. Keep moving. Stay in the Word. Don’t let cabin fever become a genuine ailment.
Third, reach out to others. We have so many ways to communicate. Take advantage. Call, text, send a Facebook message, or maybe organize a Zoom meeting.
Paul wrote in Galatians 6:2, “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” Since we are burdened with isolation, let’s bear it together.
Fourth, live out God’s command to be a good citizen.
Romans 13:1 says, “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.” This principle tells us that Christians ought to be the best citizens.
Our federal, state, and local governments have given us clear guidelines to curb the growth of the virus and to save lives. The coronavirus is a killer. At this point, I’ve heard estimates of 100,000 to 250,000 expected deaths.
Death is tragic, and the loss is permanent. Before this is over, I assume we will all know people in, or just outside, our social circle who have passed away from the virus. We need to be prepared for this reality.
Sadly, many of the dying are not Christians. Those people are dying and going to Hell. This heartbreaking truth is difficult, but it is reality. Let’s follow the government’s instructions so that as many as possible will survive to hear the gospel.
I have no doubt that God will use the Spring of 2020 to strengthen the church and His people. We’ll see this strengthening on the other side of this situation. Right now, we’re too busy reacting and surviving to see it. Let’s stay faithful and together so that we can be used by Him.