What does church unity look like post-covid?
We had quite a surprise this week as we heard that as of this Saturday, the mask mandate in Manitoba is basically over. We continue to pray that this is how it remains and that no further lock downs happen this Fall. Time will tell, but things are definitely trending in the right direction.
You would think that all of Manitoba would be breathing a sigh of relief right now, especially as we have reached all of the reopening targets we were asked to and by all accounts- this pandemic is heading to it's end (yesterday had 17 cases in the entire province- praise God!)
But things aren't quite as good as they appear on paper.
It seems that we have some work to do as a church in our post Covid pandemic world. Many people are still very fearful. Others are frustrated. Some want their freedoms back now. Others want more lockdowns until Covid is gone. Both sides strongly disagree with the other and both bring some valid points to the table.
How does church unity look for us moving forward, especially in light of how truly divisive this time has been in the Christian community?
We will never find unity with each other in political beliefs, preferences, and other opinions. We are all so different and this will never change (and our differences are actually a good thing!). I don't see anyone for or against the vaccine, for example; changing their minds anytime soon.
So how do we come together during such a difficult time as a church family?
1. We need to focus on what's important- the Gospel of Jesus Christ and what that means for us today. This overshadows everything else. This must be our priority, our passion, our fuel, and our goal in all things- to present Christ crucified to a dying world.
2. We need to get back to the basics. We need to come back to church, get into our Bibles, maybe even turn off the news- and get back to fellowship with each other again.
3. We need to show grace to others who believe differently than we do about secondary or lesser issues. I have seen so many break fellowship over ridiculous things like masks. Don't let that happen to us. We have far more in common in Christ than we do in our differences. Show grace to those who are struggling through this (read Romans 14).
4. We need learn some lessons from the past 18 months and move forward.
Before Covid hit, was the church in Canada being faithful to the great commission? Was the church growing? Were men discipling their wives and kids? Were people reading their Bibles and telling their neighbours about Jesus?
As much as we all want things to go back to "normal"- the truth is that not everything we were doing pre-covid was Biblical or right. Maybe God has used this time to show us how important the church gathering really is, how sweet fellowship can actually be, and how little time we have left to go and do what God has called us to do as individual believers and as the church.
The past is the past. This has been a hard 18 months or so, but it hasn't been without fruit or growth. Let's take what we've learned, repent of our failures and move forward.
Don't let what's happened with Covid these past 18 months take that away from you.
May God help us to be gracious and understanding of each other as we move forward through this difficult time together.
I continue to pray for us, that God would give us a passion for His Word and a burden for the lost.
Let's get back on our horses and ride forward together.