by Bill Fix
Approximately 17 months ago, we were told that a virus was so horrible and devastating that we needed to drastically change our everyday lives to avoid getting sick. Entire industries deemed “nonessential” were shut down, and many couldn’t go to work. Schools closed their doors for the rest of the school year and reopened with virtual options the following year. Restaurants closed their dining rooms but offered more family dinners with takeout and delivery options. Churches closed and figured out ways to worship while still practicing “social distancing.”
In March 2020, did we still expect to experience the inconveniences of a global pandemic a year and a half later? Regardless, here we are with more threats of rising active cases, variants, and shutdowns on the horizon. In the midst of all this, what do you consider “essential”? If one is sick or has a compromised immune system, such a person should take every precaution and stay home to protect oneself and others. But what if we have no issue with getting out to the grocery store, restaurants, concerts, and football games, yet keep our distance from the local church that meets to worship God? Does that exhibit faith or a willingness to follow God’s commands?
I ask these questions because I hear that many communities are looking to reinstate various restrictions again, that some churches still aren’t meeting, and some Christians use this as an ongoing excuse not to attend worship. Sometimes we face hard decisions pitting government regulations, daily necessities, love for others, and responsibilities to God against one another. But regardless of the circumstances, Christians must always seek to strengthen their faith and “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Mt. 22:37). How can one do that effectively if we use the pandemic as an excuse not to assemble, yet freely attend other public activities that are available? The early church didn’t allow great persecution to shut it down, but instead, they “went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:1, 4). How are your priorities?