I do not believe that most all liturgical congregations intend to be reckless or irresponsible. In fact, those Christian congregations who have been tend to be radical Protestant types who look for everything to be a battle. In nearly every case, the liturgical churches have attempted to be faithful and responsible and have done a fairly good job of doing so -- when they have been allowed. So why are we still breaking out in a cold sweat about whether in person worship is dangerous or reckless or non-essential? Give it up already. Stop. It is unbecoming of the Church of God and her ministers.
The world delights in our worries and what ifs. The world and the devil win when we express uncertainty instead of confidence in the Lord and His Word and works. The world uses our very uncertainty against us to prove we have nothing eternal to offer, no hope better than science or technology, and are certainly not essential to daily life. The world wins every time we as the Church express our fears and act as if we are the blind leading the blind. It has got to stop. From church leaders to parish pastors, it has got to stop.
Our whole presence and purpose is to draw attention to what is eternal and we cannot be faithful in this calling while at the same time giving into the fears, uncertainties, and panic of a moment which is but a moment. We must do better for the sake of the Kingdom. We must not preach according to the panic of this pandemic but the eternal Word that manifests the eternal Kingdom and our place and presence in it by grace -- a people captive to a moment in time being accorded the gift of immortality through our Lord Jesus Christ. No, we cannot afford to be reckless or imprudent but neither can we afford to be fearful or hesitant.
So from this Pastor forward and all of us together, let us leave behind the constant second thoughts about whether we did right or contributed to the spread or should have given into the idea that worship in person is not essential. Let us give it up and concentrate and focus on what is eternal, on being the voices of that eternal and instruments of our eternal God. We are called to speak hope to the hopeless and life to the dying. We are planted here in but not of the world to bestow forgiveness to clear the conscience and bestow a future on those who had none. It is time to set aside the constant hand wringing and get on with it. If not for the sake of the people we serve and those not yet of the Kingdom, then because God will hold us to account for our captivity to fear and our hesitance to be the Church.
The article has a lot of emotional verbiage in it that clouds what exactly is the New Year's resolution.
"The Church will be wounded far worse by the continued uncertainty over in person worship than she will be by the efforts of the government to shut us down."
The Lutheran question applies here: "What does this mean?"
Holding in-person worship services in cities or states where they have been banned? Holding in-person worship services with attendance exceeding limits set by city or state diktats? Holding in-person worship services that include singing and other worship activities that have been prohibited by city or state diktats?
Are these the activities that "liturgical congregations" should not be afraid to carry out and should "leave behind the constant second thoughts about whether we did right or contributed to the spread"?
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