Last year, I wrote a post called Coronavirus versus the Church 2. It was written in 2021 where we had weathered the worst parts and the Delta variant. That was before Omicron – which my dad and my brother got this year (2022). Yes, the Omicron sub-variant was the most virulent and widespread, but it was less potent. My dad and brother both thought they had the cold, until they took a Covid test to verify that it was indeed Covid.
In my previous post, I talked about how the church and parachurch ministries survived by staying true to the calling to the Gospel: to preach the Good News, to equip the saints to do God’s work, and to minister to their community. It must be done in that order.
It is no use ministering to the community and giving people’s felt needs first. A person’s felt need never addresses the person’s real needs. For example, many people might have lost their jobs during the pandemic. They might need a job – their felt need, but they might have lost the job because they often showed up to work consistently drunk, late, or drunk AND late. The real need they must address first is their alcoholism and lack of self-discipline. Deeper than alcoholism is our sin.
By now, COVID has stopped making the news; rather, in the US, the news is focusing on the economy, the upcoming mid-term elections, the war in Ukraine, and of course, British royalty.
Meanwhile, the American church is still dealing with the effects of COVID. Physical attendance may be down and there are still plenty of congregants who prefer watching at home the live stream or recorded message. Membership might be down and as a result tithing and giving might be down as well. Because of inflation or having to take jobs that pay less, people might be giving less. Is this the end? Maybe? Sadly, some churches did close for financial reasons. However, Christians are the God’s children and no good Father would ever stop blessing and providing for His children. One of the names of God is Jehovah Jireh – the Lord will provide.
People are still suffering from long COVID or dying from COVID-related complications. Therefore, the church’s visitation ministry – to visit and pray for the sick – has never ended. It was one of the markers of the 1st century church and remained so in the last 2000 years. The church has dealt with multiple plagues before; COVID is no different in one sense. COVID may slow or limit the church, but will never stops it.
The COVID crisis ought to remind the church that the end is near. The Bible reveals a future with a one world government that will monitor and even control its citizens. It will regulate who can buy and sell. This future government will monitor worship. Now, where have I heard that before? During the lowest point of the pandemic, vaccine and mask mandates caused or threatened to lay off people simply because they cannot or will not get vaccinated with a very risky vaccine. The Virginian government targeted churches – even if everyone took precautions. In other words, this is a dress rehearsal.
I don’t want to sound like a fearmonger. Far from it. The true Gospel has always offered the best hope in this dark world. Where else can you find hope in this life and the next? Where else can you find peace of God and peace with God?
Nevertheless, I do caution Christians who have the tendency to read the Book of Revelation and then try to match what they read in the newspaper. Getting the vaccine is not the same as getting the mark of the beast. The latter is the most anti-God think you can do. The politician/ political party that you hate the most is not the anti-Christ; that person will actually be suave, charismatic, and the first person to convince both Israel and the Arab world to trust him implicitly. Don’t search for spiritual significance for every political event.
Rather, do what Jesus said: Look up. Look up, not around, because redemption comes from above. Look to Him in faith as a child waits for his or her Father to come back.
The church will always survive pandemics; whether it thrives is a different story.