This Sunday will be the eighth week with no services of worship in our Church. It is so strange. Such a thing has never happened before in the history of the church. Not even world wars closed our Churches; indeed attendances were higher during these hard times. Even today, those Christians who face great persecution in other countries still manage to worship together, sometimes in secret. If we were facing physical threats from an oppressive regime, maybe we could find a way of being together behind closed doors, but that would only help the virus to do its worst. Catch 22. So I have several thoughts.
1) God is giving us an opportunity to rest and evaluate our lives. Are we putting him first? (Exodus 20:1-4)
2) We can take the time to read our Bibles and to pray. Time spent with him is priceless. (Isaiah 26:3)
3) We should also be asking ourselves: do we appreciate life as we should and value others as we ought? (John 13:34)
4) Finances may be a concern, but we have so many other blessings to count
5) And in the middle of it all, God is with us. (Hebrews 13:5)
We have good reason to have confidence in our Lord, but the thing about the Christian faith is that it finds its fullness in the fellowship of the body. Just as no man is an island, no Christian exists on their own. We are all part of the body of Christ, and that’s what is really being attacked right now! The attack of this virus is not just physical: it’s spiritual, and its strategy is to divide and conquer. There is a sense in which nobody can be a Christian on their own. When we join Christ, we join his body, his Church. In Christianity we need each other. Studies have shown that if anyone misses Church for more than three consecutive weeks, then it becomes harder to return. Like the old image of a piece of coal falling from the fire, its flame soon goes out. In Hebrews 10:25 we are encouraged not to give up meeting together, but in this pandemic we have no choice.
We can have our faith, we can have our bible readings and our own private prayers, but we really must remember that we belong to a great family of believers who exist today throughout the world. We are also one with those who have gone before us, and we are one in faith with the great cloud of witnesses.
Even in isolation, please remember that you are loved and precious in God’s sight, and you are also part of a huge body of the faithful. Pray that we will be together soon.