Should the Churches be closed over COVID-19?

Innocent Mwangi

We are living in interesting times. Never in my life have I ever imagined we would be forced to close churches. 

As my daughter, son, and I heed the government’s order to stay at home, I’m sometimes feeling as though this is the time the church needs to stand stronger in faith; go to church and pray instead of staying at home.

Well, of course, we have to heed our governments’ directives. However, I wonder if Paul would have obeyed his government of the day. Or whether Corona would have stopped him (remember the story in Acts 28:3 where a viper bite his hand?)

Paul considered the only life worth living for as that lived for Christ; and death as gain rather than loss. In other words, whether he lived or died, it was gain all the way.

I feel we need to be of the same spirit as Paul during this time. If worldly essential government services haven’t stopped, why should the heavenly essential services stop (which includes going to church to pray)?

As long as we maintain social distancing and observe the highest levels of hygiene, it’s my contention that churches should remain open. Only those flouting the laid down hygiene regulations should be closed, in my opinion.

I understand that, as believers, we are the church; and that it doesn’t matter whether we worship and pray at home or wherever.

Wait a minute!

It actually does matter! Remember how God was excited after Solomon built and dedicated a temple for Him in 2 Chronicles 7? In fact, in verse 2, the Bible says that after Solomon prayed, the glory of God filled the temple such that even the priest could not go in. There was simply no place for anyone else in the temple but the glory of God.

God’s excitement and joy for what Solomon had done peaks in verse 13 to 14 when He makes a poignant promise to Solomon: “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague [Corona Virus] among my people, 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”.

 Yes, the most important thing is that we are all praying; but I feel a time is soon coming when things will get harder than they are today. A time is coming when we will be called to lay our lives on the line for the sake of the Gospel.

The end times are not going to be easy times. These are times when Christians will be forced to congregate in caves for prayer and fellowship. As the one world order takes shape (and it is starting to take shape), our freedom of worship will be curtailed, and in some instances, stifled.

What is happening today foreshadows what’s coming. These are the distant signs of an end that’s rapidly approaching.

Perhaps it’s time to petition governments to allow us back in Church. Meeting online is good, but it’s a comfortable and easy thing to do.

The message we are sending out is that we don’t have to physically meet to fellowship, which is true to a great extent. However, I see some restrictive governments taking advantage of this experiment to close churches in the future. Ostensibly because we “don’t have to meet in physical spaces” to worship.

Soon we will have to make hard choices.

We may get to the point where we will be faced with the choice of obeying God or following what our governments are saying. I pray you’ll make the right choice when that time comes. For me, I’m with Paul on this: to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

 So, as we stay at home in obedient to worldly governments, let’s not forget that we are of a different government; the Kingdom of Heaven. Whether by a virus or any other cause, death will visit at one time or another. And at the end of the day, this world will come to an end. 

However, eternity with God, which is your portion, is forever! I leave you with this scripture from Matthew 11: 12 … “from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force”.

Innocent Mwangi | Breakthrough Victory Church, Utawala, Kenya

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