Has there ever been a time when the Church, the world-over, has not gathered for public worship and the ordinances for two consecutive months, including the season of Easter? She has gone through plague and persecution over the course of millennia, but now she has ceased to gather.
“Has such a thing happened in your days, or in the days of your fathers?” (Joel 1:2). “Such a thing has never happened or been seen” (Judges 19:30).
When this started, we guessed that the contagion might be the judgment of God. Then we wondered if it was the economic impact of the magistrate’s reaction that was God’s judgment. As we pondered it more, we thought it was the mad panic of the people. While we continue to believe that all of that is evidence of the visitation of divine wrath, we are of the persuasion now that the closing of the churches is the most cataclysmic event of all. There are spiritual forces behind this. For eight weeks, Christians have not gathered for public worship, prayer, baptisms, or the Lord’s Supper. We have not gathered to pray together in the day of our nation’s greatest need.
The Church was declared a non-essential service, and we suspect that is likely because the Church has not perceived herself as an essential service, even though it cost the precious blood of Christ to gather her. When people, even professing Christians, call the Church unessential, what are they saying about the blood of our Saviour?
One week ago, our elders politely requested that the authorities work with us to open our church in a responsible way. While two mayors have replied, we are yet to hear from anyone in authority who is willing to collaborate with us.
Has such a thing ever happened in Israel?
The Elders of Trinity Bible Chapel are calling the congregation to a solemn day of prayer and fasting on Wednesday, May 6. We ask that you fast from after supper on May 5 until supper on May 6.
“Consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly. Gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land to the house of the LORD your God, and cry out to the LORD” (Joel 1:14).
During this time of prayer and fasting, we call the congregation to pray specifically:
- That God would give wisdom, patience, unity, and courage to the elders as we seek to discern how best to obey our mandate from heaven to gather as a church and participate in the ordinances while under the present demands of our magistrate.
- That, as we continually welcome the judgment of God, He would reveal what sins we must repent of.
- That we as a church would be holy and sanctified and that heads of household would carefully shepherd their families through this dark time.
Considering that the magistrate has prohibited the gathering of more than 5 people, and so long as your conscience permits and you do so responsibly, you might consider gathering with others for this solemn time of prayer and fasting.
May God have mercy on us all.