• Abraham Williams

A Christian’s Response to Covid-19

Not going to lie, I believe in being transparent and open, so here goes the most truthful statement I can express- "2020 Stinks!" As simple as a saying it may be, it means so much to us in this season. This year we have seen people influential in this world pass away- Kobe Bryant, Ravi Zacharias, Chadwick Boseman, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Regis Philbin, John Lewis, Little Richard, Max von Sydow, Neil Peart, Eddie Van Halen, Kirk Douglas, and so many more. Then we have witnessed the racial injustices and riots that have transpired in the last couple of months. The total insanity of Antifa and the riots have caused so much damage. The political war we see rages on all around us. We have just skimmed the surface of 2020; we could point out things like the Australian wildfires, West Coast wildfires, Ukrainian jetliner crash in Iran, Beirut explosion, Indonesia floods, Africa locust swarm, and so much more.

So yeah, "2020, STINKS."

But I feel like I forgot something that has made 2020 so infuriating…that's right, we ignored the Coronavirus Epidemic! Who could forget the last eight months and all the beautiful things it has brought us? From full government and local community shutdowns, mandatory mask mandates, no sports, no summer, businesses closing down, cash shortage. 2020 has been hard to experience, especially having children (ages 7,5). We have seen this pandemic be the most significant thing of 2020 that we have dealt with, and that is saying a lot after the year we have had. We still have three more months to go!

Being a pastor during the Covid-19 crisis has been challenging and difficult, but an affirmation to my calling. You see, people have needed the pastor and church more now than I can remember. Maybe the closest I can think of is when September 11th happened and people flooded to the church after that horrific day. During Covid-19, I have seen people who have had issues for years but kept them at bay with things like sports, hobbies, restaurants, running from venue to venue, etc. With none of that for the last eight months to help them ignore personal issues, it has revealed the problems and for a lot of people, they can't run from it, and are forced to confront it. Praise God the church, and I as a pastor of Fishcreek Nazarene Church, didn't take off or shut down.

Instead, we were able to help people heal; we have seen lives restored from sin. I have seen families and relationships mended; I have seen people practice grace and reconciliation like never before. People began the addiction recovery process and counseling through a therapist.

God is working even in 2020!

Here are a couple of things the Christians need to understand about this season. Sadly, I don't see Covid-19 going away overnight. Reality is we are in this until at least spring of 2021.

1. It Does Exist. When this came out, there were a lot of people questioning the validity of this. I was one of them. When someone I know got it and spent time on a ventilator, I realized how real it could be. It’s eight months into it, and I believe we had many more months ago. Don't get mad at me for saying it, please.

2. Do not live in fear. It seems during this time of Covid-19, I have seen Christians be so scared that they have put their faith into the things of this world. Instead, I want to reiterate something that we need to remember. Christ is Victor! We need to turn the news off and get off of Facebook and reset our minds on the beauty of the peace that Christ offers to us. There is a hymn that might speak to what I am trying to say.

Hallelujah! Christ is Victor

Hallelujah! Christ is Victor,

Tell with every breath,

That the Savior still is the conqueror

Over sin and death.

Hallelujah! Christ is Victor,

Tell where’er you go,

That the Lord is still the conqueror,

Over every foe.

Hallelujah! Christ is Victor,

Pain and sickness flee,

When we plead the mighty victory

Won on Calvary.

Hallelujah! Christ is Victor,

Therefore do and dare;

Go wherever Jesus sends you

In prevailing prayer.

Hallelujah! Christ is Victor,

No defeat nor fear

Evermore must dim thy vision!

Christ the way will clear.

Hallelujah! Christ is Victor,

Soon His voice shall ring,

"Come ye conquerors, come up hither,

Join thy conquering King."

3. This is not a spring break for your faith. I have heard and seen the reality of the church right now. Church attendance is cut from 30 -50% of in-person attendance, depending on the church's size and location. The majority that don’t attend an in-person service join virtually. It is incredible to see how so many churches have adapted almost overnight to meet the congregation's virtual demand. But some are not coming to in-person or joining virtually who were active attendees pre-COVID. In the last couple of months, most of our churches shut down for safety concerns, and most of us enjoyed our time off and not waking up on Sunday mornings and showering or joined virtually later in the day when it was more convenient. But now, after months, some have paused on their faith and that worries me not just as a pastor of a church but as a fellow Christian. We need each other, and we are to run this faith race together. I believe if you’re reading this and have paused in your spiritual journey, know that I love you- don't give up. Your church family needs you, and you are missed by your church. Seek the kingdom of God every day in your life.

4. Being missional is still essential. The great commission is still very much our calling as Christians; it needs to be our driving force right now. With the world so shell shocked from 2020, this is a time for revival to break out in the streets. I had a sobering thought the other day in my prayer session. What if we saw revival break out during this political season in America? What if instead of neighbor against neighbor, we saw repentance and reconciliation on a national scale. It starts when God's people focus on Him and His calling to the church and not of things in this world. Imagine if we used our social platforms to reach people for the kingdom rather than our posting and arguments. Let this quote encourage you.

"The voice of sin is loud, but the voice of forgiveness is louder." Dwight L. Moody

5. Keep the Ekklesia (church body) connected. Where the church is so different right now, I feel at the most we deal with is the feeling that we are all spread out and feel so distanced from each other that our conversations are short or nonexistent in our church faith communities. I fear many congregants are lonely or dying a spiritual death but feel they are on an island, and no one can hear them or wants to talk to them. We need to be intentional as Christians to reach out and speak to our church community. Even if you met them one time at a church event, reach out. We need to make sure no one in our faith community is alone. The church is meant to be relational at its core. Be like Christ!

"Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose." - Philippians 2:1-2

May these simple ideas be helpful in this insane year!

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Abe

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