“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14, NIV 1984).
My Musings – The above quote from Jesus comes towards the end of the last days signs in Jesus’ famous Olivet Discourse. “I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” (John 4:35, NIV 1984). “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” (Matthew 9:37, NIV 1984). So how are we going to reach all nations with the decline in Church attendance and influence?
Enter COVID-19. With traditional in-person worship services largely shut down for a season, many churches have started or expanded their internet-based ministry, with the potential to take the Gospel to the the whole world through the airwaves. An invasion, of sorts, of the the dominion of the “prince of the power of the air.” Who knows, perhaps reaching individuals who were unlikely to ever cross the threshold of church. “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11, NIV 1984). It has only been in these “last days” that this “delivery channel” have become available. Coincidence?
My Advice – As a Church, let’s not get lazy. When we can safely do so (and this will vary by individual, according to their health concerns), we must return to the fold, “not [giving] up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but [encouraging] one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25, NIV 1984). And can’t you see it approaching? In the meantime, let’s be creative in staying connected with our church families in a way that is considerate of the concerns others might have for their health.
We must also not lose sight of the commission the Lord gave us. For while we may see the Day approaching we do not know the date or time. “It is not for [us] to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But [we] will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on [us]; and [we] will be [His] witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:7–8, NIV 1984). We have the power! Virtual services might reach “to the ends of the earth,” but not reach our families (our Jerusalem), our neighbors (our Judea) and our communities (our Samaria). This commission is still our responsibility, our “prime directive.” Only how we do it has changed, but the power source has not been disconnected.