RESPONSE to Defiant Churches

To Churches Defying Medical & Political Leaders,

Christians should be leading the way in terms of loving neighbors and exercising wisdom. Now that children and 30-50 year olds are known to be dying, there is no “safe” group per se. With that in mind, our witness can be damaged if we value ritual (even good rituals!) more than the innocent — as argued repeatedly in the OT prophetic texts. 

The argument often goes that retail stores being open and churches being closed does not make sense. Agreed. It’s ridiculous to have people crammed into a store. I’ve heard multiple stories of people being coughed on while shopping. The answer is not to carelessly fling open the doors, but to be cautious with both.  

My proposal is that Christians use this time to be more creative in both living and loving.  How can we connect and care in new ways? At certain times in history, Christians have led the way in creativity. May this be one of those times.  

We need not gather in groups of 50+ to worship; after all, there are many house and underground churches around the world, and Christianity has flourished. Insisting on large gatherings neglects how God often moves in other contexts.  

Sadly, as Americans, possibly we are too connected to our productions than to the gospel itself. Worship and Word (and sometimes sacraments, depending on church polity) can be practiced in smaller contexts/groups. Until we can safely meet again, let us gather together in spirit — knowing that it is ultimately Christ, not physical proximity, that unites us.

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