Christians, I don’t know if you realize, but there is a small yet very important aspect of our faith that has really been taken away from us. And under the guise of safety, it is being used to persecute the body of Christ with many not even knowing it.
Today, (3 months after our 14 day period to flatten the curve) I tried to visit someone in the hospital who needed me to anoint them with oil and to pray for them. As we have come to expect, I was turned away. And I fear that with our social norms changing, we may never be allowed back in.
What this means is that when Christians need their pastors and fellow believers the most, we are being denied access. Sure we can pray or even video chat. Those things are important, but those are band-aids of necessity. When you are in the ER, you want your family, your church, and your pastor to be with you. When you go under for an elective surgery (when you know their is still a slim chance you will never wake up), you want to embrace your fellowship and faith in those last moments.
As we pass from this world, we should have the right to have anyone we want to be by our side. And because of a virus that has a lower death rate than the flu, our basic rights to observe our faith at the most important times have been ripped away form us.
I am sad today. When two or more are gathered in His name, for some reason, something special takes place in our faith. Sure the Holy Spirit is still with us when we are alone, but God has always chosen to reveal His Glory more when the body of Christ is together. There is something amazing when the fullness of God in me and the fullness of God in you comes together in unity and in the same place.
You see, James 5:14 is not meant to be an “over the phone” type of ministry activity. It is meant for a group of Christians in close proximity. It reads, “Is any one of you sick? He should call on the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.”
Call it “safety”, call it “the new normal”. However, lets be clear about what this is really about. The enemies of God want to destroy all facets of our faith. And like a chess match of spiritual warfare, the world has taken a very important piece of our faith (and basic human rights) away. I say this only so that we can see how close we are getting to the end. Before Christ returns, the enemy will place the body of Christ in Checkmate on the world stage. And that is when Christ will turn the tide and win the game. Everyone (even Satan) knows that Christ is victorious in the end. We just need to prepare to embrace the persecution that is coming near the end of the game.