HOW COVID-19 DISRUPTS OUR FAITH AND SOCIETY?
covid-19: faith and society
HOW COVID-19 DISRUPTS OUR FAITH AND SOCIETY?
A Regular Citizen Point of View
When the virus first broke out in China, I never imagined that it would affect the rest of the world. With their government’s fast action, I thought they could contain the virus in no time. But as lockdowns, quarantines, and closing of borders are simultaneously implemented in all countries, oh boy, this is serious!
COVID-19 has changed our lives. It has disrupted our routines and plans. But we have to adapt and follow protocols and embrace the New Normal.
COVID-19 AND THE NEW NORMAL SOCIETY
The New Normal Society is…
“No Face Mask, No Face Shield, No Entry.”
“No Face Mask, No Face Shield, No Ride.”
It’s scary to think we’ll soon be wearing full body covering as if the earth is not anymore a suitable place to live in. Maybe in the distant future, Mars will be accessible, but with the idea that resembles Earth. Is it possible to replicate Earth?
When World Health Organization declared COVID-19 as pandemic, the internet and social media got busy with their conspiracy theories.
COVID-19 conspiracy theories
Some Conspiracy Theories ~What is COVID-19 trying to tell us?
1. The virus is a biological weapon. Are we facing World War III?
2. The virus is from wild animals from different places, not only in China. Is nature retaliating?
3. US and China are involved. Is this a competition of power, of being number One?
4. The elites are involved with an aim to lessen World Population. Are they acting God now?
5. One Vaccine for all to control the world. Should we prepare for one government? Is this the fulfillment of one ruler prophecy?
OR WHAT IF NO PANDEMIC AT ALL? IT’S A HOAX!
What if we got COVID-19 all wrong, and we overreacted, causing more problems, deaths and damages? Are they manipulating the number of cases and deaths to instill fear?
What if no pandemic at all? It’s a hoax. It’s a political deception. Should we all go rally against compliance and control?
They’re all theories and questions but sometimes I can’t help but think, what if? As a regular citizen who relies on updates from the government and other sectors, I feel helpless. Who’s telling the truth? Not to mention social media ~with fake news and stories going viral influencing the minds of many. How safe are we not just from the virus but from lies?
BE VIGILANT OURSELVES
But being part of this society in a state of pandemic, we are to be vigilant ourselves and not to fear. Research shows we might also learn to be afraid of things, which means the more we are exposed to “scary” things like the way they projected COVID-19, the more our stress level shoots up. So if you think news and social media feeds wreck your peaceful mind to fear – turn them off, deactivate! Live your life with some adjustments and changes.
5 things covid-19 has taught us
We’re all into cleanliness, disinfection and hand washing. Alcohols, sanitizers and soaps got their break as the best-selling products of 2020. They’re everywhere – bags, pockets, entrance areas ~where your hands get dry from sanitizing. Now you need to make sure you also have your hand cream with you.
We’ve also mastered the art of hand washing. People now are more mindful in washing their hands before and after eating, or before and after doing things.
With social distancing, one enjoys privacy on the road, in offices, and in other public areas. No crowd. With masks on, you’re free from gossipy neighbors or colleagues. It’s harder for them to talk now and so you can enjoy your alone time. With the restrictions, we learn to make boundaries and respect each other’s privacy.
We know how polluted the air in the city is, but people don’t wear masks. If you do, you’ll be frowned upon as pretentious or nitpick. But with COVID-19, the mask is a must. If you don’t wear a mask, you’ll be frowned upon as selfish, rebellious and uncaring. So now you can relax that you have all the reason to wear a mask, to protect you from COVID-19, dusts, pollution and other air-borne diseases.
4. Organized Queues
People don’t have a choice but to follow rules of establishments, and to follow designated queues. If you don’t, they won’t entertain you. Though waiting time is longer than ever, at least queues are organized. But why wait for the pandemic to happen, for everyone to be more disciplined?
With lockdowns and transition to New Normal, you realize that you can live without the things you thought you should have. You learn to save more, maximize resources and prioritize needs.
3 things covid-19 has deprived us from
Another conspiracy theory ~the mandatory use of mask is one way of silencing the people from talking, the repression of freedom of speech. For me, we use masks to slow down the spread of the disease. That’s it!
With our faces half covered, our communication is affected. We feel limited to experience genuine connection without seeing the entire face and expressions that go with it. That’s the problem! Nothing to do with freedom of speech. One can still practice freedom of speech, with or without masks.
COVID-19 might have deprived us the value of face-to-face communication, but we’re all into learning new skills to cope in doing things “the online way”.
2. Outdoor Activities
For home-buddies, they’re not bothered at all, maybe a little when lockdowns got prolonged. But for outdoor people, it’s a nightmare.
When lockdowns got lifted, they expect people to go jogging, biking, climbing, etc. with masks on. COVID-19 has changed our relationship with outdoors. I couldn’t imagine the rest of my life wearing a mask in exploring the beauty of nature.
Masks are for temporary protection and NOT a permanent lifestyle to have.
Life moves on! But wedding pictures with masks on, group pictures with masks on, even receiving awards. What a wrong timing to receive an award!
COVID-19 is depriving us from experiencing celebrations to the fullest.
For singles looking for love, I guess better forget 2020 as your year of having love at first sight. With half-covered face, no way to meet The One. Or you can master your eye-make up and allow it to do the work when you socialize.
covid-19 and our faith
As Christians in this time of confusion and despair, all the more we need to pray as one. If they’re playing the card of deception, this should not surprise us because that has been Satan’s scheme from the very beginning and Jesus has already warned us about it.
3 actions to take against covid-19
1. WATCH OUT
Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. Matthew 24:4-5
We can’t stop deception because it’s deception. Does that make sense? It appears real, so it takes times before it shows its true colors. As Christians, we are to watch out by seeking God through His words.
If we’re firmly rooted in God’s words, it’s difficult for us to be deceived.
2. BE NOT ALARMED
You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Matthew 24:6
When COVID-19 is trying to shake our world, and we hear rumors like the conspiracy theories mentioned, we are not to be alarmed.
Do not be afraid verses appeared 365 times in the Bible, that’s like reminding us every day in one year. Take this command by heart.
3. BE READY
COVID-19 is part of the end that is still to come, so we should always be ready.
The Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25: 1-13) reminds us to be like the 5 wise virgins who took oil in jars along with their lamps. They’re ready! While the other 5 were fools who only took their lamps and ran out of oil. When they’re on their way to buy oil, the bridegroom, the one they’ve been waiting for, arrived.
So only the 5 wise virgins could join the wedding banquet and enjoy the bridegroom.
Moral of the Story: As believers, while we’re waiting for the second coming of Jesus, we should always make sure that our lamps, our oils are prepared, which means our lives are right with God. Our light keeps shining for His glory. We have nothing to fear or worry about if we know that we’re ready.
Nobody knows when the end time will come. But pandemic like COVID-19 could be one sign and a call for people and nations to humble themselves and pray.
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will hear their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
2 BIBLICAL RESPONSEs TO GOVERNMENT PROTOCOLS
How should Christians respond to government protocols?
Some people follow, some don’t. Some compliant, some rebellious to the rules. But for us Christians, we need to respond according to the Bible.
1. God has established governing authorities whom we are to follow and not rebel against.
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. Romans 13:1-2
2. Be submissive to rulers and authorities.
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. Hebrews 13:7
Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready of every good work. Titus 3:1
God commands us to obey authorities, and that includes following protocols they’ve set for us to be safe during this pandemic.
But what if…?
What if some conspiracy theories are correct? What if COVID-19 is a big political deception? If it is, that’s between God and the government. They will answer to God and He will make them pay big time if found guilty.
Jesus Followed Authorities
But for us, being subject to governing authorities, let’s do our part as responsible citizens and as our direct obedience to God, like what Jesus advised us to do in Matthew 22:15-22.
When the Pharisees tried to trick him, if it’s right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not. Jesus responded,
“You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me a coin used for paying the tax.”
They brought him a denarius, and asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?
“Caesar’s,” they replied.
Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
So we are to…
Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s
We are to follow what the government requires of us, not only our taxes.
How about to God what is God’s?
You might say, “The government has been restricting believers to come together, that is against God’s command to Keep the Sabbath Holy.”
But let’s look into the context why the government is doing that. Is the restriction coming from the premise ~they want to abolish any religious groups and destroy Christianity? No, not at all. The restriction is only about safety measures. So why are we making a big fuss of it?
AN EYE OPENER: THE REAL RESTRICTION
To our brothers and sisters in Christ doing missions in places Christ is not even acknowledged. We salute you!
They have the real restriction, fighting for their faith and making a stand for Jesus at the expense of their own lives. They’re like Peter and the apostles, bold to obey God rather than men. They’re like Daniel and friends willing to go to the burning fiery furnace to worship the One and true God.
But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18
HOW ABOUT US?
We’re standing for Jesus at the expense of our comforts! We want no masks, no shields, no social distancing. We just want how our worship services be what they used to be. We grumble on something we can do about. We’re in the New Normal, we have to deal with it and make ways how to make our church gatherings more meaningful, but safe. Besides, this is just temporary.
And we try to point out that without a church, how about the spiritual growth of its members?
That’s true! But our spiritual growth doesn’t solely depend on our church attendance. If what we’ve only got is church, then we’ll be like the fool who built his house upon the sand. The church serves as our support to strengthen what we already have in us. Like the wise man who built his house upon The Rock. (Matthew 7:24-27)
Jesus is The Rock.
If Jesus is our rock, our firm foundation, then any COVID-19 restrictions will not stop us from growing intimately with Him anywhere, anytime and whatever circumstances we might be in.
This pandemic will reveal and test our hearts. Who will remain standing after this pandemic is over? We should have been ready in times such as this and prove our faith to be steadfast as our testimony both to other believers and especially to unbelievers.
When COVID-19 takes a heavy toll, we’ll hold on to Psalm 46.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging…
… Come and see what the LORD has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among nations, I will be exalted in the earth.
… The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress…