The following is a copy of a texted conversation between a faithful member of the Lord’s church and the preacher of that group. I have purposely omitted the names of the communicants and the place they are discussing. The reality of the situation is so common, it could fit anywhere – but should not exist within the Lord’s church! “M” will indicate the member of the church and “P” the preacher. Used by permission.
A Real Case of Asking, “Why?”
The preface of this true story is a common scene in many congregations of the Lord’s church. The continual “shall we gather or shall we not” questions remain prominent though we are now within the third consecutive year of this COVID-pandemic. While we admit the virus is real and has dire consequences upon those infected, we are also keenly aware that those who have had the virus and survived are the most effectively immunized because of the “natural antibodies” plus, there is abundant evidence that the vaccines are working to at least minimize the effects should you contract the illness. Further, though repeat illnesses are equally real, the effects of the virus are usually minimized in such persons. Evidence has proven that neither the common disposable masks nor cloth masks are at all effective in preventing either the spread or reception of the virus and that the best masks (NK-95 or N-95) are limited to hospital personnel and what the public can obtain are often “knock-offs” of this product.
That said, the absolute best advice is PRACTICE SAFETY, which is what we parents instructed our children (“wash your hands, cough into your elbow, if fevered stay home, etc.”) Sadly, society has made children of adults in limiting their ability to make their own proper and educated decisions. The following true conversation illustrates this fact.
M - Hi P. I was wondering if every single person from church is sick and is that the reason why it is canceled tomorrow? My husband and I are fine, and we can go but we don't have that option now because it is canceled. I don't think it is right to cancel services even if there are only a handful of people that can go. I think the Lord would want whoever can make it to worship to go even if it is a few people. And if people are going other places such as the store or work or ball games, but not to church then that is a problem. I don't know if that is what is happening right now so, please correct me if I'm wrong.
P - It is not just a few that are sick. There are more sick than not. I have no one to preach or teach my class. Those of us that are sick are not going anywhere. Those that have been sick are still trying to recuperate. I am glad that you and your husband are better now. Please allow us the same chance to recuperate as well.
M - I pray you all get well soon and will make a full recovery. I am just saying that those of us that are not sick should be allowed to gather and worship, even if it is 5 or less people. I understand that you aren't able to be there and so maybe there won't be a lesson or class, but don't you agree that at least assembling, praying, singing, and partaking of the Lord's supper would be acceptable for those that can make it? I wish I could do something like lead prayer, singing, or communion and I would if that was my role but it's not. I feel very guilty that I am well, and I am able to worship but I cannot. I guess I could in my home, but I would much rather go and worship with those that can.
P - I asked all the members what they thought but I heard nothing from you or your husband. So, the decision was made by those who responded. Sorry.
M -Well sorry I'm not on Facebook every second of every day. And I didn't know the Lord's church was a democracy.
P - I left it on for a whole day to give everyone a chance to respond. Sorry.
Without elders, we have no other choice.
M -So it wouldn't have mattered then if I responded on Facebook since majority rules, right?
P -We would have considered your wishes in making the decision.
M -Well can't you just make another Facebook post?
P -It is not just me making the decision. No one was going to come if we had it. Either they are sick or afraid of getting sick. If you and your husband want to be there tomorrow, then go. You two will be the only ones there. Your husband will have to lead the prayer, lead singing, and the lord's supper, but no one will stop you.
M - I didn't respond after he sent the last message.
She is right! The Lord’s church is NOT a “democracy” and “majority rule” is NOT the way of the Lord’s church! It belongs to Christ (Matthew 16:18; Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 5:22 – 33, et al) and we are blessed to be members of it (1 Corinthians 12:12 – 13; Romans 12:5). Instead of desiring some “official permission” for our absence, we Christians should be excited about assembling to worship our God (Psalm 122:1) and heed the Lord’s commandment of Hebrews 10:23 – 31.
COVID and its societal dictators are no more our God than the weather people who attempt to frighten us with their snowflakes and icing predictions. We have eyes to see … let us use them and the commonsense God gave us to made decisions regarding our safety! If you would go to work, school, a ball game, shopping, the doctor, etc., then you should be able to go to the assembling of the saints! Let us never look for an excuse (the skin of a reason stretched over a lie) to avoid assembling; let us look for more opportunities to assemble to worship Him in spirit and truth! (Heb. 10:25; John 4:24)