God’s Call To Gather Pt 3: Fear God Above All

God’s Call To Gather Pt 3: Fear God Above All

By Rev Anthony Lee

While Covid-19 pandemic has changed the ways we practiced our faith for a season, we need to recognise that the current circumstances are not the same as in 2020.

Consider the following:

  1. High rate of vaccination in Singapore

Most of us in Singapore are vaccinated, and this includes an increasing number of children. Therefore, the fear that gripped us all in back in 2020 should no longer be the dominant narrative.

Even if a new deadlier strand does emerge, so long as we take responsible actions (which the church has done, by following SMMs all this while), there should be no need to isolate ourselves completely at home. Truth be told, if we can venture out for work, for meals or for groceries, there is no reason we cannot go to church for worship.

  1. The costs of continual isolation

We need to recognise that while we have protected lives physically, there are huge social and psychological costs to continual isolation. Our church’s home-bound list has tripled in two years. Seniors are under great threat of social isolation. Encouraging more people to stay home is not the way forward in treating Covid-19 as endemic. For sure, isolation as Christians will only make our faith anaemic.

  1. No one can avoid death or disease altogether

Yes, we need to preserve lives as a society but our guiding principle in life cannot be to avoid death or disease altogether. No matter how advanced medical interventions become, there is still an expiry date to all our lives.

Ultimately, we must fear God, not death. (Hebrews 2:14-15)

If our goal as Christian is to avoid death altogether, how can we ever face the threat of martyrdom? God forbid, but should the day of persecution come upon the church, will we encourage people to stay home in order to preserve lives or will we exhort people to worship even at the cost of their lives? If going to church to worship means we might lose our lives for Christ, we should count it our highest privilege because the end of our lives here on earth is only the beginning of the fullest return from exile.

Thankfully, while this is a hypothetical extrapolation for us in Singapore, persecution is very real in some countries. Thus, it is important to realise that preservation of life cannot trump our allegiance to God. The fear of the Lord must triumph over all other fears in our lives.

Our act to worship physically regardless of circumstances is not just a brave declaration that we fear God above all but also a defiant attitude against that consumeristic tendency that is so prevalent in our lives.

The great malaise of online worship is that it breeds an attitude of convenience and feeds the already-increasing consumeristic tendency in all of us. If we no longer want to gather for worship because “it’s far” and/or “I must wake up early,” who is really “god” – us or God?

We must actively combat the consumeristic spirit at work in and around us.

Christ calls all of us to deny ourselves (Romans 12:1), take up the cross daily (and that includes Sunday), and follow Him (Luke 9:23). Jesus and His disciples made it a point to worship on the Sabbath and in the synagogue (or Temple) despite repeated threats on their lives (see Gospels and Acts).

By God’s grace, life in Singapore is generally good for most of us, and the only real act of “sacrifice” may well be our waking up earlier to travel to church for worship (because even giving financially can now be accomplished through e-giving). If we are unable to even offer this little “sacrifice” to make a physical trip to honour God, is there truly the fear of God in us?

AMKMC Family, God is calling us to gather once again as His people for physical worship – won’t you respond in obedience, in faith, and in godly fear?

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