COVID closed the church but God opened one in every homeTuesday, March 30, 2021
One of the best memes we have seen on social media since the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic is one in which the Devil is bragging to God that he had closed down the Church. “On the contrary, I have opened one in every home,” God responded.
We don't know how many Christians or people of other faiths have seen this creative illustration of how the Church and, we presume, mosques have had to resort to new ways of worshipping and conducting their other activities in the time of COVID-19 by going online.
But the restrictions aimed at containing the spread of the novel coronavirus have completely upended life as we know it and, difficult as it is, the church could not have expected to get away unscathed.
We are aware that some Christians interpret the Bible to say that all they need do is pray and God would protect them from all harm. On the basis of that belief they insist on continuing as if nothing had changed.
Yet, the evidence over all of time has shown that such an interpretation is far from reality. Christians experience hunger, thirst, pain, loss, suffering, poverty, and deprivation just as any other person. Indeed, “The wheat and the tares shall grow together until the day of harvest.”
In the meantime, the Government has no choice but to handle the pandemic with an even hand, doing what is best for the country as a whole. Fortunately, it is only a handful of churches that are refusing to comply with the COVID-19 protocols.
Fortunately, as well, the young man who uttered threatening words against the prime minister and his family in a video which went viral is not representative of the majority of Christians, who understand that the entire populace is faced with a common enemy that is no respecter of persons.
The Jamaica Umbrella Group of Churches and its biggest member, the Jamaica Council of Churches (JCC), which represent 95 per cent of Christians here, have expressed their commitment to playing a role in combating the spread of the novel coronavirus.
While not entirely happy with “the apparent lack of proportionality between the measures applied to some sectors, the Church included, and some other entities and services”, the JCC “laments the disregard shown by those who engage in unauthorised gatherings and activities that have contributed to the increase of COVID-19 cases [which] has brought our health system to a breaking point”.
“In addition, the JCC urges all Christians to cooperate, as much as is possible, with the measures put in place to curb the pandemic. While freedom of speech is necessary, and questioning a government is at times healthy and necessary, all undue discourse which creates public mischief is strongly discouraged by the JCC, and those who breach the safety protocols ought to be answerable to the law,” the council said in a column published in yesterday's edition of this paper.
It is true that online services do not offer the warmth, fellowship, and the other advantages of the in-person attendance at church, but it has its own benefits. Pastors can appeal to a wider market, or congregation if you prefer. People can hop from one church to another or catch a recorded service they missed.
If spreading the word of God is what matters most, then opening a church in every home should be the Christian's delight.
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