It sounds like a joke, right? If I said that to you in our last quarterly newsletter, you would not believe me, but today it is a sad reality. People of faith around the globe are not gathering to celebrate and commemorate. For Christians this is Holy week and this Sunday is an Easter that we will always remember.
There is a rebellious streak in me that says, “I don’t care, I have constitutional rights!” Shouldn’t we gather for worship on Easter anyway and resist the governor’s orders? What would Daniel do? What if you are banned from gathering for another month, or the rest of the year, or…? Sorry, as much as I appreciate the work that goes into an online service, and the “convenience” of watching church from my couch, it is not the same as gathering together for a worship service.
Certainly Romans 13 comes to mind, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.”
I also consider the words of Martin Luther when he was asked how a Christian should respond to the Plague in his day, Luther replied: “I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what He has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. See this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.”
It is humbling to realize that this impacts everyone on the planet in one way or another. The world was surprised and unprepared for this, but as Christians, should we be surprised? “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you (1Pet. 4:12).”
The fact is Christians do suffer but we are not alone. As Christians we should trust God, knowing that He is with us, “for He will not leave us nor forsake us.” We’re to trust Him knowing that for believers, “…the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that is to be revealed to us (Rom. 8:18).”