Why Should We Stay Home?

By Pastor Nate Powell

I’ve always been one of those dudes that hates NOT having church. When it comes to snow, I’m ready to go scoop. Ice? I’m gonna walk super slow. Tornado warning? The church has a basement, so we are covered.

Yet here we are. Two Sundays into the Coronavirus outbreak. We had one Sunday where we nearly didn’t touch each other at all, except for some elbow bumps. We had another Sunday where we had what was likely the first Sunday we’ve never had a service with people in this building since the existence of this building (which was built in 1912). We did our first online service, which was, by all measures, very successful. Many worshipped with us (We had 1200 Facebook engagements) and God was glorified in our time together.

Nonetheless, it was not with the lightest of hearts that our elders made this decision. It was not easy to say we won’t meet together. And it looks like it may be a few more weeks before we are done with this.

I haven’t been asked this question directly yet, because I think most have been on board from the get-go with regard to this whole virus thing came up. But I’m not so sure questions like these don’t exist: Why should we stay home? Isn’t this a free country? Shouldn’t the church stand up to the government’s edicts on things like this?

I would say to those who ask these questions: if it were any other situation, I would agree with you. If Christianity were made illegal, public worship made illegal by an atheist state government, I will stand up to that tyrannical government every day of the week. But this situation is not that situation.

This is a public health crisis. It is a virus. And it’s worst attacks are against some of those who are most dear to us: our retirees, our senior citizens, our grandparents. By all statistics, the death tolls could be very high. So here are three small truths that I believe can help us understand and come to grips with why we’re not meeting right now.

  • My older and elderly friends mean the world to me: Some of the dearest people in the world to me are elderly. They are my parents and my wife’s parents. They are my friends in the community. They are my church members, my Christian brothers and sisters. They are dear servants of the Lord. They are the people who provide much of the prayer support that I need. To lose them prematurely would be a tremendous blow, not just to me, but to the church. I know that if we continued to have church, they are the people who would still come, despite the great risk to their own life and health.
  • Staying Home is Loving my Neighbor: So because I love my older friends, I stay home or limited to my office. I’ve made a few trips other places, but on a very limited basis. Going places and seeing many people would be a way to pass illness, and so I limit myself, so I can be ready and present when truly needed. By you not passing anything to me, and me passing anything to you, we are all taking care of each other.
  • The church is people, not a building: Finally, I remind you that we as a church are not identified by a place, but as the people of God. Remember Peter’s words in 1 Peter 2:5: “you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” Wherever we meet, whether in this worship space of our church building, or in the homes where we reside, we are the church. Certainly, meeting online should not replace meeting together in person, but for now it will be an adequate substitute.

So let’s continue to serve the Lord: I in my home, and you in yours. We will get through this together.