Coronavirus and Church Health
The challenge of coronavirus seems to be 3 fold. It is at least 10 times more deadly than the seasonal flu, it spreads more easily than the flu, and you can have it for days and not even know it, maybe never know it. So we practice social distancing, staying away from people, even our friends and family. We protect ourselves and others, because we might be carrying the virus and not be aware of it.
As we know well now, this presents great challenges for churches. How do we worship together when we can’t BE TOGETHER? How do we study the Bible, learn from one another, encourage one another, when we can’t be WITH ONE ANOTHER? These are core values for Christianity. The “one another” passages are rampant in the New Testament. Just look at these few verses from Romans:
Love one another deeply as brothers and sisters. Outdo one another in showing honor.
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation.
Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.
So then, let us pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another.
Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, according to Christ Jesus.
Therefore accept one another, just as Christ also accepted you, to the glory of God.
My brothers and sisters, I myself am convinced about you that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to instruct one another.
Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send you greetings.
What I’ve seen across our association is pastors and churches going back and going forward at the same time. We’ve gone back to calling one another, checking in on one another, making sure those who haven’t been able to get out have what they need. Churches are going back to the good health practices of taking care of one another. And churches are going forward with online Bible study classes and worship services. Online giving is becoming more common place. Facebook Live services are reaching far beyond the bounds of local communities as church members share their services with their growing circle of friends.
We are seeing how our God can take such a terrible crisis and use it for the good fo the church and the community. Look at how God can restore some health to churches by forcing us to be open to new ideas and to embrace again some forgotten ones. We take care of one another by reaching out, making a call, sending a text, dropping off a sack of groceries, and waving to our neighbors as we walk down the street.
If I may, let me make one suggestion: When you go for your walk to get out of the house make a point to pray for your neighbors. Pray for each home. You don’t know what’s going on in that house. That couple may not have been able to get along when they were both at work for most of the day and now they are stuck together for hours on end. That neighbor kid may have loved going to school because at least there he ate a meal, received attention, and knew he wouldn’t be beaten. Now he is stuck in a house that always seemed more like a prison. Our economy might be on a pause, but sin nature isn’t. So let’s pray for our neighbors, Pray for each home as you walk. Pray for salvation, for safety, for the light of the gospel to make its way into each house.