Fear Drifting More Than Covid
Ever since the world turned upside with the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, I have primarily tried to be a peacemaking voice. I have not advocated for or against the government mandated precautions, nor taken a stand one way or the other regarding the vaccine. I certainly have my opinions, but I have felt called to keep those mostly to myself. Many people I love and respect argue strongly for one side or the other on both these compelling issues, and I commend them for answering what I trust is their calling.
However, my calling has been to help preserve unity, especially in the body of Christ, which includes people of many opposite views. I regularly voice the principle in Romans 14 given to first-century Christians who were divided over the eating of meat which had been offered to idols. The ‘Covid Paraphrase’ goes something like this:
“The man who [believes we should wear masks] must not look down on him who does not, and the man who [believes we should not] must not condemn the man who [believes we should], for God has accepted him.” (Romans 14:3)
My message today could be seen as a departure from my stance to date. I don’t think it is, but making that determination is not important. What is important is recognizing there are many dangers far greater than catching Covid. I am not saying Covid isn’t dangerous. The U.S. death toll recently passing 400,000 is clear evidence of that. But with all the attention the virus receives, I believe many greater dangers are being overlooked.
Last week someone told me they had a fire drill at their workplace, and when they arrived at the rendezvous area they were asked, “Where’s your mask?” It may have been a joke, but I find it a great illustration of the point I am trying to make. Masks may be a fine idea, but they won’t save you from a burning building, and they are equally useless against a great many other threats.
The danger I am most concerned about these days within the church is drifting. Many have had their rhythms of worship, fellowship and ministry completely disrupted for nearly a year, and that is inevitably damaging. Even if isolation has been the wise course, it has a cost. A broken leg may require a cast, but it still atrophies while immobilized.
To mitigate this cost, some brothers and sisters have worked hard to create alternate means to connect in Christ. But it is difficult, and I fear many are simply waiting … and drifting. Just as coronavirus is most dangerous for those with compromised immune systems, isolation is most dangerous for believers with compromised spiritual health.
The solution is to pursue Christ together. The warning about drifting is collective: “We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” (Hebrews 2:1) That means leaders must shepherd, individual believers must work to maintain connection, and we must proactively reach out to others in our family. Only then will we truly be safe.