A Call For Unity In The Church

COVID-19 is confusing. It can be as mild as a cold and as lethal as cancer. Experts say wearing masks will keep us all safe, other experts say the masks are useless. We should wipe down all surfaces. Also, don’t worry about wiping down surfaces because the virus can’t live on them. 

It can be transmitted from person to person at a small clothing store, but not a large one. You can get it from the library, but not from the liquor store. Sitting with your family in a car with the windows up in a parking lot worship service can be dangerous, but a parking lot is okay if you plan to get out of your car and go into a store. 

Your grandmother could get it from you if you invite her to your house at Christmas, so don’t let her in, even if she knocks with homemade gifts. But she can’t get it from you if you invite her to your commercial ice-fishing shack (that only seats 4), so maybe exchange gifts there this year.

I don’t understand this illness. I don’t understand the politics that swirl around it. I don’t understand why our kids are still in school, and at the same time I’m really glad our kids are still in school.

It’s all such a mess. 

There has been conflicting messaging from the very beginning as we have been bombarded with information. The World Health Organization puts out a statement, then the Center for Disease Control puts out a statement, then the Public Health Agency issues a statement, then the Premier issues a statement, then the Chief Provincial Health Officer issues a statement. This cycle has been repeated multiple times over this past year. I think it’s safe to say that most people have been more than a little confused as to what is really happening and how to appropriately respond. 

Thankfully, at least I can rely on my fellow Christian believers to hold each other up and cheer each other on during this time of crisis. I mean, so often the media or people outside of our faith look in on us and point fingers or question our motives, the secular world seems to always assume the worst about the Church so it’s incredibly comforting to be with our brothers and sisters in the faith. 

Oh, wait…

Just when believers should be pulling together in unity and causing a weary world desperate for hope to see the light of Jesus shining through us, we are fighting amongst ourselves, we are turning on each other. 

“Jesus would wear a mask!”, “No, Jesus would not give in and wear a mask!”

“The vaccine will save us!”, “No, the vaccine is the mark of the beast!”

“We should stay home and do church online!”, “No, we should gather no matter what the government says.”. 

I’m. So. Weary. Of. This. 

Who among us could possibly understand the direction of God for someone else's church? Or for another person for that matter? We struggle sometimes just to get a clear direction for our own lives. Unless there is clear out-right sin that is blatantly unbiblical, we should not presume to know the “right” thing to do. 

“How could you think for a moment that you have the right to judge another person’s servant? Each servant answers to his own Master, and he will either stand or fall in His presence. The good news is that he will stand because the Master is able to make it so.” Romans 14:4

Personally, I have no problem saying “I will stay home if it protects others. Sure, I will wear a mask if it makes someone else feel less vulnerable.” But I know people who love Jesus who think we should push to gather in person and not have to wear masks. Who is right? Who is wrong?

I don’t know. And neither do you. 

Only God sees our hearts. Only God knows our motives. 

It is sinful to assume the worst of others. If we are guilty of this, we should repent and ask God to change our hearts. We should always give fellow believers the benefit of the doubt. 

Just this once, during this crazy global pandemic, could we leave the judgement and condemnation of other believers for different preferences alone? Maybe, just this once, we could let God work out the details and trust that He is actually leading other ministers and churches the same way we believe He is leading our own? 

Perhaps we could even encourage each other? Perhaps even support other churches that are seeking to connect with and minister to people that are lonely and afraid? Let’s do a better job of showcasing our solidarity rather than our superiority. 

There should be absolutely no confusion about this. Jesus tells Christians to have a fierce, deep, long-suffering love for each other. 

Then maybe, just maybe, the weary world desperate for hope could get to know Jesus by “the love we have for each other”. 

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