Many are saying, “Any mask is better than no mask” (unless you use it improperly, of course). Let me add to this, “Any connection weekly with the body of Christ and the public hearing of the Word is better than no connection at all (unless it is not a Christ-centered connection, of course).
Are you hearing the Word and worshipping regularly with God’s people of the church of whom you belong – even if electronically? Do you not belong to a local body – get a connection. Any connection is better than none.
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. (Hebrews 10:25 NLT)
“Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.” (1 Timothy 4:13)
Are you going to church this week?
If you are not in a high-risk group to die from this Virus, let me encourage you to consider meeting with your local body of Christ this Sunday (or a Christ-centered church that is meeting). As you go, practice appropriate distancing. Prolonged absence from participating in corporate word and worship times with your local body of Christ weakens you, your church, and your community. Educators have known the liabilities for years of students going purely to online education. They assimilate far less due to low or no interaction with fellow students and teachers with increased distractions, absentees, dropouts and low grades. The current forsaking of Christian assembling and connectivity is likewise causing these liabilities to be experienced at epidemic proportions spiritually – with far more dangerous and long-term effects than the COVID-virus itself could bring. The spiritual body is becoming more and more unhealthy as connections with one another decrease. Our world is darkening as the light of the world – the body of Christ – is less present. We see levels like never before of addictions, suicide, conflicts, abuse, anxiety, depression, etc.
Some should stay home, but not all
I believe it is wise for some to stay home from church and participate remotely, but not all. Therefore, I encourage you to weigh the physical impact that not joining your church will have on you and others against the spiritual impact of joining your church. If you deem it unsafe, ask yourself a follow up, “At what percentage ‘chance’ of death by Covid-19 will I return – 0.1%, 0.2%, etc.” Currently, CDC puts this very contagious virus at a 0.65% estimated death rate with 80% of those deaths occurring from those 70 years of age or older. If you are younger your death rate is much lower, unless you have certain underlining health conditions. All this is current solid estimates. It is important to be concrete in a time of fear so that we are not controlled merely by emotions but by reason. Some have returning to church just like most have returned to work and certain gatherings based on what is percentage-wise probable for them, not based on what is percentage-wise possible. It may be wise for many to stay home because of their particular age and health condition, but not for others. The current mortality and hospitalization statistics from the medical community can help us greatly in weighing these difficult decisions.
If you determine it is not wise for you to meet at a church site for word and worship due to your ‘chance’ of death from Covid-19, let me encourage you to employ the following strategy. Invite a group of three fellow believers to a weekly phone or online meeting to read scripture, pray through church prayer requests, and possibly read a chapter together from a solid Christian book. Keep the conversation reflective of Philippians 4:8. Let one or more of your church leaders know of your plan and ask them for their input.
Join our Ephesians Study
I am teaching through a weekly study on the book of Ephesians online, onsite, and on-demand during this time. You could consider forming a discussion group weekly to discuss what you are learning and how to apply it. If you would like to join REGISTER TO JOIN THE EPHESIANS STUDY.
What part do you play in keeping us healthy?
Each one of the members of Christ’s body has an essential role in helping the body of Christ remain active and healthy during the Covid-19 closings. First, I encourage church leaders to take a look at an article a church wrote on why they are meeting entitled, Christ, Not Ceasar, Is Head of the Church. My prayer is that it may help give you fetter to pray over from a perspective your church leadership may not have considered. Second, I ask every member of a local body of Christ to prayerfully ask themselves, “What is your role in keeping the body healthy?” Determine this and keep fervent in your love as you fulfill this role. You are essential as a member of the body of Christ.
Hear Paul’s instructions from Ephesians 4:16 “… we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”
It sounds like each part is essential. May the Lord stir our hearts to do our part in keeping the “body” healthy during Covid-19.