Your congregation has no doubt taken action regarding the Coronavirus. You may have already seen some changes and made some adaptations to how you have always done things due to the threat. Most churches have adapted how they serve communion and the passing of the peace at least. Some churches have gone to Morning Prayer on Sunday mornings, which doesn’t include communion and the passing of the peace, as a change to protect from the virus. Some have even canceled corporate worship services altogether for a few weeks. It’s been interesting for me to see how quickly churches can make changes in the face of a crisis. In light of the urgent threat of potential death the church is willing to change what needs to be changed in order for lives to be saved. That’s great.
It’s also interesting to me to see how resistant many of our churches often are to make changes, or to adapt the way things have always been done, in order to address a far greater threat to life than the coronavirus – death that comes from sin. Romans 6:23a tells us clearly, “For the wages of sin is death.” People who die in their sin without repenting and believing in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sin spend eternity separated from God in Hell. Sin has already infected every human being on the planet and is far worse than the coronavirus from an eternal perspective. I get that we don’t want people to get coronavirus, so we are willing to make changes for their sake, but why are we complacent about people’s separation from God due to sin and don’t care enough to change so they won’t go to hell? Where is the urgency of the potential eternal death of sinners? Why aren’t we willing to adapt and make changes in the way we do church so more lives are saved through Jesus?
In Lent we are reminded of the great seriousness of sin, and, on Easter, of the even greater extreme love and grace given to us sinners in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Romans 6:23b goes on to say, “but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 (ESV) Amen!
So, as you take seriously the real threat of the coronavirus and make important changes in the church to protect people from death, would you also remember the greater threat of sin and death for those who are not yet believers in Christ? As you feel the urgency of the coronavirus crisis, would you translate that urgency to lost sinners in your life? As you are willing to adapt and change to save lives from a virus, and would you be willing to adapt and make changes in your church to see even one more sinner repent and be saved?
We see this urgency and willingness to do whatever it takes for the lost in The Parable of the Lost Coin: “Suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.”
May we have that same urgent passion to take action, persevere in prayer and service to those who are lost, and find joy for even one lost sinner who is found.