Most states are under “stay at home” orders and Hawai‘i has implemented a curfew to prevent church gatherings over the Easter holiday. Just as Governor Asa Hutchinson defended his decision NOT to implement “stay at home orders” in the state of Arkansas, tornadoes tore through his state.
It is as if God has spoken.
Is He is completely fed up?
With the lies and hypocrisy.
I know I am.
When the church is closed for the most important Christian celebration of the year, it might be prudent to observe the resurrection with some deep reflection. Jesus reprimanded the religious leaders of his own time for prioritizing policy over compassion for his people, he warned: “See, your house is left to you, desolate” (Matt. 23:28) And the New Testament links their unfair practices with the future destruction of the temple.
The evangelical Easter services I typically attend are plagued by a shallow sermon that intentionally frames people as sinners who are in need of a savior and scares them into accepting the church’s portrayal of Him with the threat of eternal damnation, depicted as the fictional hell designed in Dante’s Inferno. This simple message can spread like a virus to passive parishioners, eager to answer an altar call that absolves them of any real commitment aside from the few short seconds that are required to regurgitate a statement of faith. While I do not doubt the sincerity of the ministers or their converts, I have to call attention to this deceitful proselytizing strategy that offers people security about where they are and where they are going but does not enlighten a spiritual awakening within them.
But what if we approached Christianity under the same precepts that inform coronavirus “Facts Not Fear”? Of course, coronavirus facts change every day in order to keep up with new research and new data, but so does a lot of what we know about Christianity, yet pastors and parishioners are oftentimes unwilling or unable to address the inconsistencies of the Bible or its creeds that would lead to a proper diagnosis or prognosis for the modern church, therefore the church is sick, depleted and lacking the proper prescription to recover and be restored. At this point, I wonder if God will even find us worthy of a ventilator.
It is interesting, however, the way COVID19 has mandated a new respect for the environment, socialized health care and community that forces us to follow Jesus’ greatest commandment of loving one another. Ironically, churches who violate stay at home orders are charged with selfishness. I suspect that if it survives, the church will have to accept a call to action and honor its obligation to care for the needy just as Jesus did. For many of us, this may be a time of sickness or even death but it can also redirect us to a place of introspection and provide a path for rebirth.
I pray that God would give us the strength to accept the challenges ahead.
Please stay tuned for a new podcast that seeks to taker a deeper look at Christian Essentials.