Yesterday, California got nearly back to normal.
Vaccinated people (like me) don’t need to wear masks. Restaurants, bars, gyms, stadiums, and churches are able to operate at full capacity. After 15 months this is a real blessing.
But, I’m bummed by something I saw on TV. A television news show did a series on how the pandemic closures had affected businesses, etc. They also interviewed the pastor of a significant San Diego County church. Not the biggest in the county, but still significant. He bragged about defiance.
I’d watched him on YouTube for a few weeks and became enamored with his Bible teaching skills. He keeps it interesting, even for a much-too-critical former pastor like me. But one week he revealed his heart by bragging about why the church was defying the lockdown orders. What caused me to unsubscribe from his YouTube channel was his promotion of a petition to recall the governor—from the pulpit.
But the real bummer was his two minutes of fame on TV news, this week. He told the world that the churches, like his, which refused to stop meeting in their buildings are doing really well. And he added that those who complied with the law are the ones doing poorly.
So, here’s the moral in that. If you defy the law and the scripture which teaches us to comply with governing authorities, God will bless you. If you choose to obey the government and God’s word, you’re stuck. Something’s wrong with that logic!
Actually, there are a couple of things wrong. First, we are called to pray for those in authority and submit to them as messengers from the Lord. Second, if we think we can’t be blessed outside of holding meetings in expensive real estate, we misunderstand the nature of the Church. Try to find what we culturally call church in the book of Acts. I dare you. Look for people seated in rows while other people sing songs to God in front of them. You won’t find counseling centers or youth rooms with gaming devices, etc. You will find relational encounters between small groups of people supported by public, often outdoor, preaching and teaching. There’s a good deal of eating and praying together, too.
Church buildings are great tools and I’m thankful for them and all the other goodies we enjoy. However, If we can’t survive without a building there’s something wrong with us and that’s a scary thing because what would happen if we ever lost them for good?