Weekly Update - July 3
This week, our county handed down a new health order that directly impacts our congregation and our weekly gathering. According to the county’s reopening plan, Phase 2.5 went into effect on July 1, 2020. As you are aware, it mandates wearing a facial covering for any indoor (and many outdoor) public activities. “Places of worship” were specifically noted.
The order does not unduly single out churches as distinct from other public venues and is therefore no infringement on our ability to gather or freely worship. As with previous orders, this one impacts everyone in our county, not just churches, and so, based upon the instruction of Romans 13, we believe it is biblically right to reasonably and faithfully comply with the order. Wearing a mask ensures we can continue meeting. If we were to neglect this order, it would needlessly jeopardize the potential of our gathering. A mask is a small price to pay for the joy of meeting together.
At the same time, we also recognize that the county’s new order is politicized, sensationalized by the media, and confused by conflicting medical advice. We all share a variety of convictions about the spread of the disease and these convictions often conflict. Our unity as a congregation is challenged by these issues.
As we navigate forward through a new phase of this uniquely shared experience, it is of the utmost importance that we keep in mind that Christianity is first and foremost about the Lordship of Jesus Christ. He is Lord above our government, above our American freedoms, above our political convictions, above our rational arguments, and above the spread of a virus (random viral particles do not exist in God’s economy). And we represent Jesus through our attitudes, actions, responses, imaginations, beliefs, conversations, and our worship. Jesus is Lord.
Let’s make sure we are representing Christ’s Lordship with Gospel-driven conviction. That means we will honor, not disparage our government. At this stage, it is not religious persecution to wear a mask to church. We encourage you to come and gather with God’s people and worship as the Body of Christ – with your mask on. If you don’t have one, we are happy to provide one. Our expectation is that those who attend will comply with the new order. Protesting the government’s directive on this point by avoiding our gathering sends the wrong signal of what we think of Christ.
And as we gather, we will not fear the spread of or catching the virus. As we take precautions, we will do so confident in Christ, unafraid of catching or needlessly spreading a virus. We are called to gladly risk our lives for the value of Christ. And according to the data available to us presently, our lives are not in reasonable risk by meeting together. Jesus is Lord. We do not fear a virus nor our government. We fear God – and we will aim to honor Him according to his word.