“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair” (Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities). It seems that every news report is one of these two polar opposites. Either a count of more virus cases and deaths or humanity rising to the occasion and helping his fellow man. People are out of work, yet others are finding ways to help in the fight against our current invisible enemy. It truly is the best of times and the worst of times. How can the church make the best of worst times?
We are quarantined, sequestered and separated, but there are still things that we can do for each other. There are many that are lonely and need phone calls. There are some that are living alone and need some form of contact with the outside world. Instead of waiting around to be served, try to find ways to serve others. There are those that have a difficult time getting out for groceries. What if you did a grocery run for someone in this condition? Or, any other errand that they can’t or shouldn’t get out to do. There are ways to still serve one another in groups of less than ten.
In these viral times, many of the things that we do as the church haven’t changed even though the manner which we do them might have changed. For example, we are still commanded to worship our God every first day of the week. How we do that might change. You might log in to your local congregation’s website and be led in worship. You might decide as a family to worship together and lead yourselves in worship. The same acts of worship need to happen like the first century church did from “house to house” (Acts 2:46).
We also still have the duty to reflect Christ to the world around us. We who have “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” need to maintain that relationship with Him (Rom. 13:14). There is a certain confidence that faith brings to life changing or threatening situations. As Paul said, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). However, not everyone shares our same convictions and certainty. We need to be conscience of that and not be brash or cavalier with our attitudes and comments. Their fear is very real to them. We need to help them get on a path to find the “perfect love [that] casts out fear” (1 John 4:18).
The church keeps moving along with its prime directive if it is the best of times or the worst of times. We have been given a light that can be hope for so many. Will we choose to shine no matter the circumstances?