“But you, Israel, my servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
you descendants of Abraham my friend,
I took you from the ends of the earth,
from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
- Isaiah 41:8-10
Our friend Julie at Cookie Crumbs to Live By wrote a beautiful post yesterday. Here is the LINK. When I made a comment, she said that it sounded like another post coming on. I said that I looked forward to reading it, but then she said, “Maybe you’ll write it first.” Then she added the smiley face heart emoji, meaning “Please!” I kid, Julie, because I care.
What she was writing about could be summed in one sentence. “Dr. Ashenden notes that it seems we are either prioritizing the immediate power structures of our day or we are prioritizing the teaching of the Gospel…and sadly it seems as if it is our power structures that are receiving the total focus.”
We are indeed throwing our lot in with a total dependence on government and a total ignorance of God, who is the only solution to the present problems, not just the restrictions in worship. In her article, she points out that Boris Johnson will not allow live worship in Great Britain (livestreaming, just not a large crowd forming). He backed off with the knowledge that weddings and funerals must happen. So, he went on to say that 15 people can attend a wedding and 30 people could attend a funeral. Quite arbitrary numbers.
In my thinking, I have seen wedding parties that would have to give the boot to members of the wedding party to not exceed the 15 person limit. Let’s see. The marrying couple, the preacher, the best man and maid of honor, that is five essential. If you have five ushers and five bride’s maids, you would have to eliminate the father of the bride giving the bride away. You are already at 15. Forget anyone “attending” like the mothers, brothers, sisters, etc. Also forget the cuties that are the stars of the show, besides the bride – the ring bearer and the flower girl, who both often upstage the bride. That does not include the photographer who is absolutely needed, or the wedding never happened!!!
As for the funeral, it may not be that arbitrary. It is the wedding party, plus the funeral director and assistant plus the pall bearers. That gets you to 25. My sick sense of humor must ask. Is the deceased one of the 30?!?!? I know, I doubt if Boris Johnson reads my blog.
What is going on across the pond is such strict rules that it would not be tolerated in some corners of the USA. John MacArthur is in his legal battle in California. Others have bucked the system, but most churches are either not having worship, having it totally livestreamed, or like our church, very limited “worship” with very few people. Then the rules get so cumbersome that Sunday school is out of the question. Before I go further, we only have Sunday school in person at our church for eighth grade (confirmation to become members – yes, governments of the world – life goes on!!!), high school, and adults. No younger children, thus the parents of the younger children must stay home to connect to the Sunday school classes on Zoom and miss the limited attendance of worship.
But I think Julie was struck by something in my comments that might need further discussion. Part of my comment are as follows, regarding live worship and Sunday school at our church.
“Our church is allowing people to worship, with two services, and most people are staying home, opting for the livestream or totally forgetting God. I like the convenience of livestream, but I wonder if it will destroy worship services around the world. My wife and I do not attend. She has severe kidney issues and I take a water pill. We cannot be shackled to a pew until the service is over.”
To explain, if we were to attend church, we would have to wear a mask at all times and have our temperature checked and recorded. We fill out a questionnaire – 4-5 questions. We would be escorted to a pew of the usher’s discretion. We would be told to not move until the service was over. During the service, we might mumble the hymns, but no lung-filled bursts of singing – the masks might leak too much. And then after the service, we must wait until the usher chooses to walk us to the exit. No side trips to the bathroom. No getting out of the pew. If we were found to be sick later on, they would have no idea who we exposed. When the facilities manager, who leads the custodians told me this, I told him there would be “puddles.” (reference kidney issues above) He suggested we stay home, since he might have to clean said “puddles.”
“As for Sunday school, I am teaching a class that used to have 20 people attend each week. I have eight attending, including me. The pastor instructed me to take attendance so that if someone becomes sick, we can “vector” where they went and who they contacted.”
Yes, vectoring, so intense of micromanagement that they want to know what gnat or flea came into our path while we were at church. The ushers do not patrol the halls during Sunday school, and I have gone to the bathroom. And since I am the teacher, what can they do? Shut down the class?! And unless they read this post, they never knew!!!! Hey, this may not be Politically Correct, but I feel that I am living my university sports mascot’s life. I am a REBEL!!!!!
And the final two quotes from by comment:
“I wonder which disease is worse, COVID or the fear of COVID? For the church, I think the fear of COVID is much more deadly.”
“I feel that I am at worship every time I write a post or read someone else’s.” I am an introvert, but as a Christian, I feel the necessity to get out of my comfort zone and communicate in close proximity with other people. I can be in a mode of worship while writing this, but without tons of written feedback in the way of comments, it is just God and me talking to one another and me writing my thoughts down.
In talking with the manager of facilities, I wanted the doors unlocked sooner than they are. For the two weeks we have been attending Sunday school, the church was locked and the Gestapo (excuse me, the ushers) were not at the door. One week, one of those people who has the “code” showed up. (Doesn’t every church have at least one of “those!”) The other week, a lady was leaving the early service late and we snuck in as she left. We filled out the questionnaire and my wife and I took each other’s temperature.
The manager of facilities told us that he could give me five more minutes, but no more. They were sticking to the mandates handed down by Homeland Security. For those not in the USA, Homeland Security was formed after 9/11 and is a federal agency that coordinates homeland security through all the various three-letter agencies (FBI, DEA, ICE, CIA, ATF – are there more? I probably do not want to know.). In other words, there is a separation of church and state when they eliminate prayer in schools, but Homeland Security can dictate when your church building can be unlocked and when it must be locked. As for the ridiculous rules regarding church attendance above, that is the governor of Pennsylvania getting wild and crazy, risking COVID-19 spread, because he would love to unilaterally stop all worship. Let’s make it so uncomfortable that “church” will simply die on the vine. ALLEGEDLY!!!
I am just imagining what the governor was thinking, but do you catch the not-so-subtle formula in not allowing and then allowing with restrictions? If the government can shut down and silence Christians, they are all for passing that legislation, crossing over that church and state border with alacrity.
Our speaker of the house in DC (a name I cannot write as it seems to be worse than four-letter language in my thinking), being from California, told MacArthur to “Follow the Science.” The TV advertisements from Phrma state that “Science” will save us.
Science makes tons of money off the fear of people in the USA. They have no incentive of saving us. They have no incentive in letting us worship. Remember that when the government said that “Creation” could not be taught in schools, “Science” proposed evolution and millions of years of the universe as the ”origin of the species.” As the origin of the species, evolution has been proven to not work, yet “Science” has collected their paycheck, ignored all data to the contrary, and the only alternative is to return to God, which the government is determined not to do. – – – Unless we stop them.
And only God can save us, not just from the second death, not just our souls, but the virus and all our other problems. If we let “Science” and the government take over, we have just given away all our freedom. We just do not know it yet. And as for our churches, we will have to move to home churches as they are doing in China. Now that is something that I have done in the past, and it is a lovely form of worship, but do we want to do it out of necessity against our own government’s edict?
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.