Soon we will be gathering again for congregational worship. I suspect that certain things come to mind when we think of worship. Maybe singing, maybe praying, maybe preaching, or maybe something else entirely. Here is something that might not come to mind, Christian worship is, and always has been, a resistance movement. The church is a rebellion against the way things are. That has not changed. When we begin to gather together again, we will be gathering as a resistance movement. But we want to be clear, our decision to get together at this time will not be a rebellion against recommendations for health and safety.
The Bible includes some pretty clear examples of rebellion against earthly regimes. Remember the story about Pharaoh and Egypt? Have you heard the stories about how Daniel defied the kings order and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down? In the New Testament there are times when government appears to be operating for the good and the Bible exhorts us to recognize that. But by the time we get to the Revelation things have changed significantly and governing bodies are being mocked and judged severely.
If we are ever asked or ordered to bow down to the state there is little doubt as to what the expectations for the church will be. After all, we are a resistance movement. But the fact is, we can agree with the government when it makes recommendations for health and safety reasons. Being a people called to love our neighbors, if sheltering in place has indeed limited the spread of the coronavirus then the state has played into our hand.
When we begin meeting again, we will not be congregating in order to defy health organizations or government attempts to keep us safe. The fact is, governors and presidents are not health professionals. They are simply communicating information after listening to their advisors which may include health professionals. Be glad you are not making these decisions and pray for those who are. There have been and will be times for the church to rebel against authorities. Those times do not include the times that the state is attempting to keep citizens safe.
We will meet again for the same reasons we do anything. We will meet because we are called to a greater war than coronavirus. We are involved in a war against strongholds of darkness that can only be defeated by light and love and sticking with the ways of God no matter what gets in the way. The Bible wants to be clear that this war is not against flesh and blood. It is against powers and principalities.
Whether you plan to gather for worship with a physical group of believers or if you are still worshipping with a group that is meeting online, remember, there is something big going on. And you are called to be part of it.