The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. -Romans 13:11
These are trying times to be sure. Things are incredibly stressful. Couple it with numbers and truth being twisted and we have a recipe for disaster. Look carefully at the information we are being fed. Is it to unite or divide us?
The enemy is real, my friends. And if you are a Christian or have even been around Christians, it’s not news to you that the enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy. As a Protestant, most churches I attended sort of glossed this over. However, I’ll say it again. The enemy is real and he’s not playing. His intent is division, hatred, fear, and death. He wants you to be an instrument of all of those things.
How, then, should we respond? We must be aware of his intention. The enemy will use every single avenue available to accomplish his purposes. He will use corporations, governments, media, etc. to send a message that the world is hopeless. He will cause you to doubt there is good. And he will make you too afraid to go out and do good yourself. Think on that one for a moment. He’s keeping GOOD PEOPLE FROM DOING GOOD IN THE NAME OF SAFETY.
Maybe those avenues don’t really get to you because you expect it from the angle of big entities. But what about when he uses your friends and family? What about when he uses your spouse and kids? What about when he uses your church? Yes. I said it. YOUR CHURCH.
As an Orthodox Christian, my Lent has not yet begun. Today is the Sunday of the Last Judgment. We are called to remember that when we die we will face God. He will make a judgment on our worthiness of inheriting the Kingdom of Heaven. My priest has pointed out that most Christians either brush this off with a statement of “Jesus paid the price” or overstate it with the idea that it’s all fire and brimstone. The truth falls somewhere in between those two, I suspect.
One thing we know beyond a shadow of a doubt is this: He is just. He cannot do things that defy his character. Our heart is only one aspect of the coming judgment. Faith without works is dead. If that is to be believed, then our actions will be considered as well.
Here is where I’m having some frustration. The church is not to be an instrument of fear and division. We are to welcome the stranger….to church…to the neighborhood…to our office…to our school, etc. We are to visit the sick.
Let’s talk about those in depth. In the time of Christ, people went to the church for healing. HEALING. Did you catch that? Let me say it louder for those in the back.
PEOPLE WENT TO THE TEMPLE TO BE HEALED.
I have tried to be understanding. I have prayed. A lot. In the beginning I think the intention was good. But now, the enemy is laughing long and loud. Now we know this is no pandemic. People are not dying in the streets. The recovery rate is over 99%. When you subtract extreme advanced age and multiple comorbidities, the deaths are just over 10k for our country. 30k died of the flu last year. Are you seeing my point yet? If you want to argue these numbers with me, I encourage you to turn off CNN and check the CDC website yourself. It’s all right there for you to discover on your own. I’m not exaggerating or embellishing. I’ll leave that to the main stream media.
And please hear me loud and clear. If you have comorbidities that make you high risk, then take the precautions you feel are necessary. I am not judging you. Your choice is exactly that: Your Choice.
But I wonder what God would say to His Church. The Church who is continuing to spread this irrational fear. The Church who is “helping people feel comfortable” rather than firmly and lovingly speaking truth and helping to dissipate fear.
365 times the Bible says DO NOT FEAR. One for each day of the year. And yet. Here we are with the church saying:
Don’t come unless you sign up beforehand.
Don’t come if you feel ill.
Don’t fellowship afterwards.
Wear a mask to hide your face.
Don’t sit near other people.
Let us take your temperature.
Are we welcoming? Are we visiting the sick? Are we being the hands and feet of Jesus?
The truth is my soul is grieving deeply. I have cried many tears over the state of affairs in the Church. People are fearful and the Church continues to feed the beast. I haven't even touched on the idea of heaven being greater than anything here or that God numbered our days long before we arrived on this planet. Those are giant ideas all on their own accord and should give us peace.
When will we say “enough?” When will God’s people stand up and say “no more will I be a slave to fear?” When will the Church say, “Get behind me, satan?”
I’m ready. Are you?
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