Christians ought to "relaxation" through the shutdown of COVID-19 change
Many institutions serving as meeting places for large numbers of people across the country have closed due to the COVID 19 crisis. Schools, churches, sporting events, concerts and the like are canceled. Even movie theaters sell limited quantities of tickets to reduce the number of people nearby.
I think it's worth repeating yourself over and over again – don't panic. These are all precautions that are taken to smooth the curve.
As I sit in my home office on Saturday, March 14, thinking about how most of my family will be banished to our home in the next few weeks, the sentence comes to my mind as a believer: “Take time to rest . ”
What does it really mean to rest?
We learn early in Scripture that God designed, introduced, and even practiced rest. We also see that God introduced Sabbath rest for Israel – this was not only a commandment but also a sign that shows God's covenant relationship with Israel (Exodus 31: 12-18). When we quickly advance to the Gospels, we see calm in a Christocentric light.
Given the current coronavirus crisis, I would like to highlight at least three ways – under the New Covenant and the accomplished work of Christ on the cross – that believers can and should rest.
First, we have to rest in Christ.
The spread and effects of this virus remind us of the falseness of our world. And while we can take precautions to limit the spread, and therefore the impact, the underlying diagnosis is the same – the world is sinful and in dire need of salvation.
Many people since the Enlightenment believe that humanity can introduce a kind of utopia – to free the world from its darkness and chaos. Christians know better. While such a dark appraisal should not prevent believers from doing good deeds for the glory of God and the good of the world, we recognize that humanity cannot do anything to work out of sin and falsehood.
The incredible news of the gospel, however, is that Christ has it. Through Christ, God worked his way to us and made up for the sin of mankind through his death on the cross. As we watch the effects of sin and darkness in our world, Christians remember to rest in the accomplished work of Jesus' death and resurrection, in which he initiated the beginning of the new creation.
Second, we need to rest in the service.
On the seventh day, God rested in his work and watched and admired the great work he was doing. On the seventh day, Israel should take the day to observe, meditate, and worship God – for whom he was, what he had done, for his care, and for the covenant relationship they had with him. Life came to a standstill so that they could match their lives to those who gave them life.
In a time of national (and global) crisis, especially when many of our churches postpone their church meetings online, we must not give up resting in the church service. While I pray that believers join their community for their online meetings and virtually worship Christ together, it is also necessary for believers to take time each day to rest in worship.
What I am describing here is a little more than a daily prayer – especially since, as many know, life comes to a standstill. I describe a time when believers only worship God and praise him for who he is, what he has done and for his care.
In addition, during this rest period, we mediate between God and the world and ask him to intervene to stop the virus from spreading, to bring healing to the infected, to bring hope and wisdom and wisdom to those suffering from professional or financial loss give distinction to those responsible. As we do this, we constantly re-calibrate our minds and souls to rest in those who rule all of creation. And recalibration is something that we will need urgently at this time, as we have to scroll aimlessly through social media and watch news cycles that can easily rage our souls.
Third, no matter what happens in life (the good and the bad), we must rest in God's sovereignty and providence.
As the author of the Hebrews alludes to, there is an eternal calm that continues this life. Resting in this eschatological (or future) truth should comfort us and cause us to rest in the present as God executes his plan of salvation to redeem his creation and put it in a state of shalom.
Because we rest in God's sovereignty and providence as he works towards the eschatological shalom – when the new city of Jerusalem comes to earth – we rest in this future vision with the present mission. In other words, while we are resting – when many are restless – we consider and recognize how we can make a hectic world thrive.
Believers, local church, during this disruption – when much of our lives have been interrupted – let us ask how the Lord would make us realize the eschatological vision of Shalom, the ultimate calm, by asking, “What will bring bloom to our church ? “And what we can find in this increased rest period is excitement.
Josh Laxton is currently deputy director of the Billy Graham Center, North American coordinator from Lausanne at Wheaton College and co-host of the podcast Living in the Land of Oz. He has a Ph.D. in North American Missiology from the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.