The Church and Corona
Covid-19 may well mean that mass gatherings like Camps and Conference are banned. There is a realistic prospect sessions, for the sake of our neighbour and conscience, may have to put a temporary pause on discipleship programs, midweek meetings or homegroups. Yet, at this time of crisis, with mortality at a peak, the last thing we should consider is giving up our Church. Let me give you a number of reasons for summoning self and dragging others to God's House.
It is here, in the Psalms, we can voice our hearts' concern to God by using His own words. This will instill courage, dampen fears, quieten nerves, ignite praise, and help us adore the Only True and Living God who is sovereign, wise and just - and Whom we call upon to bless us. There will be laments to express grief or stare mortality in the face, along with sweet hymns and confident chants to the Christ who has conquered death.
The Church has been appointed for the reading of His Book. Here we come into contact with the whole counsel of our LORD. We will be reminded of our human fragility, temporality, mortality and iniquity. We will kneel before the greatness and goodness of our God: He alone is Creator, Redeemer and Provider. He orders all things for His Own Glory and purposes of Grace. He overrules the cosmos, including Corona Virus, for the progress of the Church and eternal well-being of His folk.
After the call to worship, and prayers and praises of saints, we'll eagerly sit to digest the spiritual food prepared, through pastors, for Christ the Good Shepherd of God's flock. As we see his sorrows and sufferings as a substitute for His sheep, sinners are called for salvation and saints come for sanctification. As the Buttress and Foundation of the Truth, it is here, in ordinary means of grace, we'll strengthen a comforting grip on God's Anchor of the Soul, and also be coached, convicted, corrected and conformed to the likeness of Christ. Being, and seeing, Him will, for sure, be better by far for us.
We'll also cling to communion - even if sessions devise some ingenious, prudent, means to defer a common 'corona' cup. Having fed on the truth, we'll want visible sights of Christ, with blood and body surrendered to death for us, so we might relish afresh the solid rock of eternal life. Our hearts will be prepared for a drawing close of our Lord, as we cry "Show Your wounds LORD to cleanse and comfort our hearts".
While many around succumb to ravages of disease, God's people will be at prayer, for every aspect of God's House. Hearts will revive as we pour adoration out. Burdens will roll loose as we engage in confession of sin. Kindness will be kindled to reach out with tender, compassionate, hands. Joy will be revived as we offer thanksgiving to our God who, through faith in Christ, has saved us from Hell and death and spared us this temporal stroke. After cries and pleas, laying out our requests, we'll rise from our knees with assurance God's ears heard. Prayers for the sick, suffering, sorrowing saints, who might be tempted to be scared, will be the means of obtaining the grace of which we've sung and heard.
Though some less well-instructed friends may dismiss the need for the Church, ordinarily salvation is not found outside its courts. If the deliverance of free grace is wrongly reduced to justification through faith, it also surely includes sanctification, security and supplies for needy saints. So stir up those whose, for whatever reason, church attendance has lapsed or slipped - tell, urge and warn those who have given up on God's House, to come back to the place where God reveals Himself in Christ. It is here on the Sabbath Day that kids, moms and dads, along with grandmas and grandads, are safest in God's arms with the salvific means of grace.
Christians must hold their nerve at this time of 'Corona Crunch'. God's Church must be the very last place on earth, only as a very last resort, to lock up man's only hope, or have it's doors shut for fear of the Germs.