From time to time, I write on several conservative traditional United Methodist websites. I’m blessed these sights have approved my comments and posted them to their sites. A recent article on Good News Magazine seemed to push the notion that closing doors to churches during the pandemic was the right thing to do. The author suggested those of us who don’t agree were Orwellian. Here is my response:
At the risk of seeming “Orwellian,” I’ll say this; we have been commanded to be strong and of good courage, not to be afraid nor dismayed, but many pastors are very afraid. I’m unclear on why they are afraid but there are a number of possibilities. Are they in fear of the virus, or maybe their DS or bishop if they violated the stay-at-home order? Were they afraid of being locked up like Pastor James Coats who was only released Monday night by a Canadian Judge?
Any and all of those possibilities do not wash with me. When God commands us, he is not asking or implying he wants us to do something, He has issued a demand, an order … a command. We watched churches around us close their doors, suspend many ministries, and in some cases, they ended all ministries external to the church. COVID is not a reason for us to slow down, it’s a pressing concern for us to speed up, and to continue our ministries (especially to the least of our brothers and sisters).
We have operated every day of the pandemic, including meeting on Sundays. We picked up the outreach ministries our old UM charge quit performing. From building handicap accessible ramps (plural) to delivering food in the local area, to sending Passover boxes to the needy in Israel, to sponsoring Christmas gifts for kids of incarcerated mothers and fathers, to an active men’s group that continues to sponsor retreats in the mountains, and the list goes on. I don’t share this to brag about what we have done, but to brag about what God has done thru us.
I’m reminded of the words spoken by God to Solomon when He said, “if you follow my decrees, observe my laws and keep my commands and obey them, I will fulfill through you the promise I gave to David your father.” I not only have faith but also no doubt that God wants to use us to fulfill his promise that the Lord thy God is with us wherever we go.
The Apostle Paul knew when he arrived in Rome that he would he be arrested, but he also knew that God would be with him there. Paul wasn’t afraid, but instead he was strong and of good courage. We know what we are up against, liberals would like to see Christianity on its knees. We must stand for what is right and what is just. Lastly, I close with these words from Paul “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.
Be strong, courageous and get back to work.