After Covid-19, everything about our lives has changed, some even call it the Black Death Plague of the 21st century. We are now standing in the turning point of our history, people’s lifestyles and mindsets are rapidly changing because of Covid-19.
In today’s passage in Luke, when Christ comes back will He find faith? Can we maintain our faith in a world that is going the other way, focused on physical needs, physical bodies, families, duties and responsibilities in this society? We can’t live according to human needs and times only, we must recognise the time of God!
Things have changed so much that the “Covid” generation may grow up thinking masks are part of our lives. According to a survey, more than half of the people say they don’t shake hands anymore, there is more distance between people, and less trust of each other, less intimacy in our relationships.
What about our faith life and church?
1. Gathering for worship will be more difficult
Not just during the lockdown, but the mindsets and worship habits of the people have changed, it is now more difficult for Christians to gather because of the physical limitations and restrictions for the safety of the people.
Christianity is all about meeting together. God considered meeting as very important! In the Old Testament God commanded His people to congregate and assemble in holy convocations to hear His Word, praise Him and worship Him. Even Jesus came from heaven to this earth to meet with us. God instructed Moses to build the tabernacle saying He will come down to that tent to meet with His people.
Now people prefer to save time and energy and just meet online to be more efficient. Do you think that it is worth the time and effort to come all the way to church when it is allowed? The environment is very important when we worship just watching a broadcast on TV or the computer, our attitude is different. The process and time that we spent in preparing to come to church also prepares our heart.
Some people may say: “I am worshipping spiritually, in spirit! Therefore the location doesn’t matter.” I hope that is true. But as a theologian said: “Spiritual is not virtual.” Being spiritual is doing something in the spirit, in line with heaven, with God’s ways.
In Romans 8, Paul talks about how following the flesh will lead us to death, but following the spirit will lead us to life.
We should not confuse the term “spiritual” with invisible or not involving the body, as we still have our physical bodies, moods, emotions, feelings, and needs. These physical conditions do affect our mental and spiritual state. Reversely our spiritual state is translated into our minds and thoughts, then carried out in our actions. You cannot have real faith that is not reflected in your actions. We need to assemble as we await the Day of His coming.
not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25 NKJ)
This verse is not only speaking about non-believers who do not like gathering. Think about it, the whole society and system restrict us from assembling together as a church in this age and time. Even pastors cannot say anything when members say “I will not come to church, I will just worship at home.” It will be harder for our faith to grow without strong gathering, fellowship and accountability. This is especially true for young and newer Christians.
Satan knows that the longer it goes, the more people will become weaker and lazier in faith, and lose the sense of importance of coming to church. Of course thanks to God’s blessing and grace we have the technology that everyone can continue worship through online means, as a temporary measure during the lockdown. But that should not be a permanent solution.
Imagine you have to stay away from your family, loved ones and your children! Even though you have the technology to meet online, talk online, scold online, can you continue on that way permanently? Sure you can hear and see their faces, but it is not the same as seeing them in real life! It is the same with worship! We have to come to church to meet Jesus in spirit who came down from heaven to meet with us.
As we come out of lockdown, businesses and restaurants have to open to restore the economy, people have to eat, and exercise is permitted for health. But religious gatherings are one of the last to be restored. This is because religious activities are considered as hobbies, something that is non-essential for life.
What about us? What is our priority? Satan’s strategy is to slowly ease us out of the church and the habit of worship. Thus, we have to really check our heart and faith today, before our living God.
2. What do we do about our faith?
If we believe our spiritual health is important, we have to struggle online and offline, as long as we are in the guidelines of the safety measures. We have to endeavour not to lose our fire and faith about worshipping together, even after Covid-19. If we seek, God will give us greater blessings. This can be a great opportunity for us to come closer to God.
On the positive side, there are people who focus on the Word more, read the bible more and pray more. Some allow their family members who are not believers to witness. On the church and missions level, things that would have taken literal years came about in just a couple of months. For example, our AV and Broadcasting team’s skills were forced to improve much faster. And we are able to conduct our first HORA online seminar yesterday, with 12 nations represented, and the Word was delivered in 6 different languages all at the same time live!
Even though the world and Satan are working hard to stop and discourage us, God has even bigger and greater plans, and He will allow us to overcome if we hold onto His Word! Let us turn this Covid-19 into an opportunity, for our faith to mature and grow, and for us to cultivate all 8 of the qualities Peter wrote about in our scripture today. So that God can use us to change the world back to a better one after Covid-19.