April 14, 2020by Reverend Dan on April 14, 2020
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended.”
I’ve started to see that sense of entitlement that originates from American hubris manifest itself via the church. (Those are some pretty big words – that’s what three cups of coffee and Reader’s Digest “Increase Your Word Power” will do early in the morning.)
My wife and I were watching the news last night like we do every night. It’s not often we don’t spend half-an-hour each day with Lester Holt. There was a story about the arrest of a pastor in Florida for having church services against the governor’s orders. Then there was another story of a pastor in Louisiana who got in trouble for a public gathering of more than ten people when he held church services. Then I heard about a friend of mine in Richmond who held church services against the orders of the governor. (Him I could get to and “discuss” the issue.)
I’m not sure what statement pastors who hold church services against safety ordinances are trying to make. They are claiming separation of church and state as the justification for holding their services, saying the government can’t make that decision regarding the church. They further justify the gathering by professing their belief that God will protect those who come and honor their presence by keeping them from getting the virus.
I know people are getting tired of sitting home and want to be together. We don’t like the loneliness and isolation. But to openly defy the governing authorities when what they’re trying to do is save lives doesn’t make sense to me. They’re not discriminating against religion or the separation of church and state. It is in no way a political statement. Those same authorities have closed restaurants, businesses, and many other establishments that have nothing to do with religion.
Am I an advocate of civil protest? Sure. I understand the Civil Rights marches of the 1960’s. But those protests were done in a lawful manner against a systemic evil. Recognition of that evil and the changing of the laws that discriminated against people based solely on the color of their skin were the goals. I’m not sure what the goal of these churches is. To openly defy the social distancing order when lives are at stake because of a deadly, contagious disease not only doesn’t make sense, it’s unscriptural.
God gave each of us a brain and the ability to reason. If the church is to be the light to the world Jesus called it to be, it’s time to use those brains. It’s time to show compassion for others above our own wants. If someone isn’t personally concerned about catching the virus, that’s completely their decision. But to potentially expose others is being reckless with the life of another human being and showing total disregard and lack of respect for that life.
Stay at home, folks. We’ll all gather again soon enough, and we’ll appreciate it even more because of what we’re going through now. No longer will we take being together for granted. But until then, be concerned for others as well as yourself.
Be smart. Work in the yard. Read a book. Watch a movie. Andy and Barney never fail to entertain; watch them. Increase your own word power; learn a new word every day. But whatever you do, do it at home unless you absolutely have to be out. Respect the authority of those who govern us. Do what is right.
“Father, Open our eyes to the people who are trying to protect us, and help us to obey that authority. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.”