Today, I am blessed for the second consecutive Sunday to be worshiping with and preaching for the brethren in Cosby, Tennessee.
The situation up here in the mountains is unique. There have been only 18 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Cocke county where the church is located. And no deaths. In neighboring Sevier county only 65 cases with 2 deaths.
Not all states or even counties within states have been affected and infected the same way. As our country reopens, each area looks a bit different. With varying rules applying to their region.
The same thing is true for churches resuming their public assemblies. Not only is every geographic area different, but even churches within those areas may need to respond differently depending on their size. Their demographic makeup. And the seating capacity of their building.
Local churches, with their spiritual leaders, will arrive at different conclusions about when to resume assemblies. Some began last week. Others today. Some next week. And it may be the first of June before other churches are able to open their doors.
In this age of social media where we’re more aware of what others are doing, let’s be careful not to unfairly judge our brethren for their decisions. Waiting longer to open does not imply an absence of spirituality or a lack of love for the Lord. Neither does opening earlier suggest they are reckless and unconcerned about others’ health and well being. Each situation is different. And the way each church resumes assemblies will likely have varying formats, procedures and frequency of services.
An application of the “one another” commands will go a long way in shaping a proper attitude towards differing opinions in the brotherhood. The positive exhortations to love, honor, respect, encourage and show compassion will serve as an edifying influence. And the negative warnings not to judge, bite and devour, and grumble against our brethren will encourage us to accept one another. “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them” (Matt 7:12).
Regardless of your situation or circumstances today, I pray that you have a wonderful Lord’s Day. And are able to “worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness” (Ps. 96:9).
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman