If you are a member of the body of Christ, what is more important than church? This question does not merit a quick response, but rather a deep contemplation. As you work your way through your own personal hierarchy of values, where does safety place? The actions of many church leaders and members to hide behind closed doors for eighteen months reveal that they likely value safety more than church.
By now we know how to keep safe and healthy. We know the risks of leaving home to partake in essential activities. Yet, many churches are still operating on the internet as if it were an online college degree. An online college degree with karaoke sessions that have replaced the spirituality of an echoing church hall filled with praise and worship.
Can you imagine Jesus telling his disciples to stay home because their life was in danger? Is safety really more important than carrying the cross? Is avoiding the ICU really more important than holding a brother or sister’s hand and calling out to God for forgiveness, a softened heart, and a will to follow him along the narrow path?
By going to church, real church, you may die with COVID-19, but you will die as a witness to Jesus. The virus is no different than the spears that killed Thomas, the inverted cross that crucified Peter, the stones that crushed James’ skull, or the flames that engulfed Matthias. The fact is that we are not here to survive, we are here to carry out God’s will — no matter the cost.
Around the world Christians are murdered for meeting in secret, they are butchered for carrying Bibles, and they are thrown in prison for talking in the name of Jesus. Compare that to Australia where we are all too happy to give the church into the hands of wicked creatures in power. The Government has locked the door, but apathetic, frightened Christians have given them the key.
It’s true, we must give to Caesar what is Caesar’s. Yet, we have given to Caesar what belongs to God. The Lord owns his church and his people. It’s high time we stepped up and realised that we are already dead, kept alive by the grace of God — and while we live, we must live for Him.