At present, the pneumonia epidemic of is spreading wildly, the number of confirmed and suspected patients is increasing, and the affected areas are also expanding, including almost all the various provinces and regions in China. Wuhan, the initial site of the epidemic, has taken strong measures to shut down public transport, and people there were asked to go outside less often. Most other cities in Hubei Province followed suit, and correspondingly closed some public transport.
In view of the rampant spread of the current epidemic, and with reference to the control measures of the SARS epidemic 17 years ago, the author was worried about church gatherings getting suspended because of this. If so, what should we do with our spiritual live? In fact, this worry is somehow late. Many places have stopped large-scale activities, including those in religious venues, in response to the epidemic.
What should we do if activities in our places of worship are suspended? The following are some suggestions for reference.
First, build a family altar at the right time and worship God with your family at home. The Bible says ' "Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I with them." ' (Matthew 18:19-20)
The Lord Jesus, our God, is ubiquitous. Although the experience is different, we will still feel His presence even if we worship Him at home for the time being. When Abraham first entered the land of Canaan, his family built altars to worship Jehovah the Lord, our God. Later, as the family grew, they began to worship God in a tabernacle, and then a temple. We can take this opportunity to set up a family altar, to lead our families to worship God and pray for the affected areas.
Second, make full use of modern communication tools to worship with other members online. Most people didn't even have cell phones during the SARS period, and the other available means of communication were few and untimely, so they could only learn about the outside world through TV. At that time, once the gathering activities ceased, it meant that our fellowship with our brothers and sisters was forced to stop.
Nowadays however, there are WeChat groups and live video broadcasts, so even if we are thousands of miles apart, we can still communicate face-to-face with our brothers and sisters whenever and wherever we want. Therefore, we can learn about the outside world through these instant communication tools when facing such special challenges; maintain communication and fellowship with our brothers and sisters online at any time and worship God together.
Third, keep abreast of the situation of the church and wait for appropriate arrangements. So far, according to the author, large-scale activities in many areas have been stopped, not only at the church he is in, but also other large events to be held in the near future at religious venues and companies. Depending on the different circumstances, the suspension of some gatherings will continue until the eighth day of the new year, some until March and April, and some even indefinitely until the end of the pneumonia epidemic.
Experts estimate that the epidemic may worsen after February. If so, church gatherings will be stopped on a larger scale and for a more extended period. If the gatherings are stopped for a long time, the church may come up with countermeasures and make corresponding arrangements, such as focusing on online shepherding, increasing visits, encouraging worship in the family, implementing cell group gatherings, and so on.
-Translated by Sophia Chen