12 Apr The Church’s Response to COVID-19 Pandemic
Throughout her over 2,000 years of history, the Church of Jesus Christ has always had to respond to major disasters like epidemics, famines, plagues, and natural disasters. If fact, if you’re a student of history, you will agree with me that the Church’s finest hour has always been the world’s darkest hour. Hence as we face this current coronavirus pandemic, I believe if we respond correctly like many of our forefathers, it will be an opportunity to bring God’s presence and glory to the midst of this darkness. Hence, I want to give a summary of what I believe the church response must be, based on the past successes of the Church.
- Humility and Prayer– The time of epidemic is not the time to gloat about our righteousness or the sinfulness of the world. It is a time of humility and prayer. We are God’s watchmen, responsible for the healing of our land and; this calling requires humility and prayer
2 Chronicles 7:13-14 – “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land”
Isaiah 62:6-7 – I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence, 7 And give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
- Kindness and generosity– The Macedonian Church demonstrated this for us; despite their own challenges, they reached out in love and compassion to support the brothers and sisters in Jerusalem who were also going through. Romans 15:26 says, “For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the Lord’s people in Jerusalem.”. The Macedonian Church became a pattern for us as the modern-day Church to follow. We must resist every urge to hoard and be generous with our resources to help others.
2 Corinthians 8:1 – And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.
In 1527, when the bubonic plague hit Wittenberg, Martin Luther refused calls to flee the city and protect himself; instead, he stayed and ministered to the sick. The refusal to flee is believed to have cost his daughter Elizabeth her life. Martin Luther provides a clear articulation of the Christian epidemic response: Christian doctors cannot abandon their hospitals, Christian governors cannot flee their districts, Christian pastors cannot abandon their congregations. The plague does not dissolve our duties: It turns them to crosses, on which we must be prepared to die.
- Faithfulness to the preaching of the gospel– Trouble times are not the time for complex and endless exposition that leads to an argument, but a time for bold preaching of the pure and simple gospel of Jesus Christ with love. 2 Timothy 4:2 says “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season.” The early Church showed us how to do this even when they faced persecution and were scattered; they continued to preach the word wherever they were:
Acts 8:3-4 – But Saul began to destroy the Church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison. 4 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.
I pray that as a church, we will take our place in history, this too will end in revival and breakthrough for us as individuals and the Church.