With the pandemic raging through the nations of the world, we have seen several changes in lifestyle and life. How much of the change is good or beneficial? Are we letting fear control us and calling it common sense and being cautious? Where does caution stop and fear start to paralyze us? There have been several good advises and one such "good advice" is to stop gathering together as ONE body, united in faith. In all past epidemics we continued to gather together in faith, to pray and to be refreshed as ONE body in Christ Jesus. With COVID-19, there is a great urge to silence and stop the church from gathering, worshiping, singing as this promotes the spread of the disease even as all other forms of gathering and usage of the voice are not seen as spreading the virus. The apostle Paul writes to the people of Corinth about Satan masquerading as the angel of light - (interestingly, Satan and his minions mask themselves to look good, and show that they have your best interest in mind).
"14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve." 2 Corinthians 11: 14-15 (NIV)
Why is it important to worship corporately?
I do understand that some who are immunity compromised due to health reasons have to take necessary precautions. The purpose of this blog is to make us think and not to condemn anyone.
The act of worship (especially corporate worship) brings the presence of the omnipotent God on earth. In the book of Psalms, the psalmist writes that God inhabits the praises of His people Israel. Psalms 22:3
When we praise God, we usher His presence in our midst and His presence empowers and blesses us. According to the Scriptures, God's presence brings with it:
Fullness of joy (Psalms 16:11)
Rest (Exodus 33: 14)
Times of Refreshing (Acts 3: 20-21)
Mercy, Grace to help in times of need (Hebrews 4:16)
Healing (Luke 5:17)
Deliverance (2 Chronicles 20: 13-17)
Apart from the fact that our corporate worship rolls out a red carpet to welcome the presence of our living God into our midst, we are blessed with many other blessings! You may argue and say that worship can occur at home. Yes! Amen! and rightfully so - it is sad that we have deviated from it all these days and a pandemic is what is required to do what we should have been doing all along. Worship must occur at home and it is the building block for life and the social structure. However, there is a power in corporate worship that cannot be replaced. In the book of Jonah in the Bible, when the city of Nineveh heard the impending danger and the wrath of God, they corporately repented and God heard their cries. Demons flee at the name of Jesus!
Is it any wonder why there is a restriction to gather together! If social distancing can be practiced at other places, surely it can be practiced in a place of worship too. Are we as a church become so soft and unaware of the power of the living God or have stopped believing that He is able to keep us and preserve us. Just some points to ponder and question our hearts and our faith - I am introspecting myself to reveal all the "foxes" in the vineyard that are spoiling the intimacy and faith. "Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom” (Song of Songs 2:15) Jesus is the vine and we are the branches connected to Him. Little foxes (of reason, media, fear, caution, doing our part...) will ruin the vineyard and spoil the intimacy: the sure pathway to slow death of faith and make us blind recipients of the mass-control media strategy.
When things are dished out to us as being beneficial, we need to see the truth with our spirit eyes and wait on God to reveal the whole truth as we continue to worship Him in Spirit and in truth however He leads us. I am committing to be led by His Spirit and not by words of flesh no matter what the source. God reveals in Revelation that He will ultimately dwell among us. Till such time, let us do all that we can to usher in the presence of the living God on earth. Praise and worship God with or without your masks. This is our only hope! Until Christ returns in final victory!
Revelation 21:3 - And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.