"…Be subject to the governing authorities…" – Romans 13:1
You have likely read of the pastors and churches that have refused to close down during this national emergency. Supposedly one or more of these pastors have been arrested and threats have been made to permanently shut down the churches. Like most of you I wonder what is really going on here. Is it a pastor and church attempting to preserve their "God given right to worship" or is it a case of trying to bring attention to themselves…of becoming the talk of the country? One article described the church as a "mega church" but then went on to suggest about 500 attend the church. That alone may have made that pastor's day: "Wow! We're now a mega church!" (Usually a figure of 2,500 or more is used to define a mega church, not 500.)
At Burning Hearts the elders have concluded that while we are willing to push things as far as the law allows, we will be subject to the rulings of the government. This should be the thinking of every church and every Christian. As long as the governing authority is not actually mandating that we in some way SIN, we will abide by their rulings. The result of this has been that we are not meeting, our most recent Elders' meeting was done via Zoom, the Women of Worth Bible Study is operating via Zoom, and the Men's Discipleship Group is enjoying not getting up at 4:45 each morning!
The result of this submission to the governing authorities has been creativity. "Necessity is the mother of invention" is the old line. So we're inventing (or making use of inventions) so as to meet. Prayer meeting last Wednesday had its challenges but 13 people were able to see each other and hear each other and together petition our heavenly Father together in prayer, via Zoom. Last Sunday, when Nate and Melanie led the time of praise, both Ruth and I joined in singing – something we didn't do the week before. It still seems strange, but we're getting the hang of it. And my preaching to a camera in an empty living room seems odd, but it should be improving with each week.
But what if this goes on not just for another 27 days but for another 80 or 90 days? Will we at that time just "roll over and play dead"? Will we continue to submit even when we may all collectively conclude enough is enough? Most likely, yes. But we will cross that bridge when we get to it.
So during the meantime, join us on Zoom for prayer, and watch this Sunday's praise and sermon time on YouTube and join us for Holy Communion on Good Friday on YouTube. Write a note, send a card, make a phone call, stay connected. All the while remaining "subject to the governing authorities."