It was Franz Kafka who famously wrote in his book The Trial, “It is often better to be in chains than to be free”. The ancient Israelites tragically agreed with that when they grumbled about wanting to go back to being slaves in Egypt (see Num. 14:2). But it seems like the Christian church has fallen into exactly the same temptation today in its eagerness to over-comply with the government’s COVID-19 health guidelines.
Just take, for instance, the continued ban in NSW on singing. Every major denomination—Protestant and Catholic—fallen over itself in expunging congregational praise from its worship. Even if one is wearing a mask. Meanwhile, over at the SCG, last weekend a packed stadium of Sydney Sixes fans chanted and sang, all while being completely unmasked. And no one had a concern.
Rev. Dominic Steele, the Senior Minister at Village Church Annandale has respectfully and concisely issued the following challenge on social media:
24 days is a long period of no community transmission.
There is now no remaining logic for the continued ban on singing in NSW churches.
Join me in praying that the NSW Government quickly sees sense on this issue.
However, I would go even further. It’s time for Christians everywhere to grow a backbone and stop being “evan-gelly-fish”. The NSW government has never officially ‘banned’ singing but has simply said that it is not recommended. Note, this is the same government which has also introduced some of the most extreme abortion laws in the world.
Let me be clear, this is technical legal jargon which has been carefully chosen to express the desire of the government without enforcing a legal penalty. However, from the response of most Christians though, you’d think that it had the authority of a papal encyclical.
Not only does no one I know want to put the health of their neighbour at risk, and neither do they deliberately want to go against government advice. But what has now become clear is that these recommendations discriminate against people of faith.
Steele is right. #LetMyPeopleSing