We have completed 6 weeks of the stay at home order due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. As a congregation we have taken the Coronavirus seriously and have cooperated with the order, limiting activity outside our home and maintaining social distancing. We’ve maintained a humble heart of submission and love for our neighbor and our duty to protect the vulnerable in our church. We have been conscious of the watchful eye of our neighbors and have demonstrated our willingness to temporarily give up our rights for their well-being. We’ve recognized the reality of the personal sacrifice of healthcare workers as they’ve cared for the sick and dying and have done our part in trying to reduce the number of hospitalizations. The good news is the curve has been flattened and the number of deaths are considerably lower than that predicted weeks ago. The number of U.S. deaths as of April 25 stands at just over 52,000, about half of the predicted total. There is no way to determine what the number of deaths would have been had no action been taken, but it is always good to be prudent and cautious.
We can always argue that the cure has been more detrimental than the disease. The impact upon life and the economy has been devastating. In hindsight we can always question the risk/reward balance. We could apply the course of action to the pandemic to many aspects of our life. For example, if we all parked our cars and quit driving, we would avoid the 38,000 annual traffic fatalities, but who would be willing to take this course of action? Also, in hindsight we know that 80% of the fatalities have been among those with preexisting conditions. It would have been far wiser to have quarantined them instead of applying the quarantine universally. But, of course, hindsight is always 20/20.
In the next few weeks, we’ll see a progressive rescinding of the stay at home orders across the nation. But we must maintain vigilance to protect our right to worship and measure our own caution/wisdom/prudence balance. The stay at home orders have been largely applied equally across the populace. But there have also been grave examples of governmental overstep and unequal application of the quarantine, with assaults upon religious liberty. Our president largely believes in the Constitutional limitations of government, but we’ve seen examples of governors, mayors, and judges grossly denying our Constitutional rights of worship and assembly. The Bible gives us the balance we must maintain. On one hand we submit to our civil authorities (Romans 13). On the other hand, we maintain our priority of obedience to God (Acts 5). The door has been opened to the progressives who desire absolute control over our lives. There is a growing wave of socialism across our nation. This was true before this crisis, but the pandemic has given them greater opportunity to exert control. As God’s people we will need to exercise great wisdom and courage to maintain the balance between humble submission to authority and bold determination to obey God rather than men.