By Evgeni Kovachev – Denver, Colorado … Individuals, church leaders, and even courts have been discussing whether churches should open again and if they can be restricted in any way. Recently, in a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court sided with religious groups in a dispute over New York Covid-19 restrictions limiting the number of worshippers. At the same time, The Denver Post reports, Colorado COVID hospitalizations rose by more than 15%.
What do we do?
Who do we listen to?
During a recent sermon, I listed several reasons why it seems God might advise us to pause our plans for opening when COVID cases are increasing and hospitals are full.
JESUS IS IN CONTROL of our life.
There are different “seasons” in our journey that God has planned for us so He can achieve His purposes. Trust Him. In Genesis 8:22, God gives seasons as an assurance to Noah that He will be with him through everything. Solomon gives his famous “there is a time for everything” wisdom so we can be ready for unexpected changes in our circumstances. In Ecclesiastes 3:5, he says: ‘there is … a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing.” Times change, seasons come and go; God is still with us and we can trust Him. Let’s enjoy what He is doing for us during this season.
JESUS LOVES PEOPLE and their safety and health are of the highest priority for Him.
In Leviticus (see 13:46), He gave multiple health and social principles for His people to follow so they ‘don’t have the sicknesses of Egypt.’ One of these was the distancing and quarantining of people with infections that can be spread. It was the responsibility of the priest to assess the symptoms of a person and decide if they should stay outside the camp (13:4). At some point, the king of Judah had to be separated into a different house and live there to the end of his life. His son took over the kingdom (2 King 15:5). David himself writes Psalm 38 while he is in isolation from his ‘friends and companions (who) must stand distant because of my [his] plague,’ and even his ‘relatives stand far off.’ (V.11). Jesus loves us and our safety and health are of the highest priority.
JESUS IS ACCESSIBLE EVERYWHERE and there is more to church than worship service.
In the Old Testament, God dwelt in the Sanctuary. His dwelling was separated by a curtain and had limited access in time and person, once a year only, by the High Priest only.
Jesus tore apart the ‘curtain’ that separates us from God. Now, where there are two or three gathered, He is there. While we miss seeing our dear friends in the church, we have Him, anywhere we go.
Jesus’ perfect plan for his disciples wasn’t just to spend time with Him in corporate worship; rather, His plan of discipleship was for them to enjoy deeper fellowship in smaller groups, to minister to the needs of others, and to introduce Him to those who don’t know Him (Acts 2).
We are called to focus on the mission, spreading the good news and serving those in need. We have fallen in love with bricks, mortar, and instruments. Jesus loves people and wants to make us accessible to those who need Him.
What can we do?
Continue to worship, build an altar, pray, invite family and neighbors to your place.
Continue to serve people. Find someone who is worse than you and help them.
The happiest people in the church are those who serve.
–Evgeni Kovachev is the senior pastor at Denver South Adventist church; photo by UnSplash
This article was adapted from an article originally published in the Denver South newsletter.