It has happened again. Once again, we find ourselves in a looming lockdown.
What does a lockdown mean for our gathering? It means that we are limited to 10 people inside and outside. Our building, including our offices, will be closed for at least the next 28 days, or four Sundays. Those who will be in the church building will be limited to those who are helping with the live stream. We will continue to stream our services on Youtube for those who can access it. If you cannot do that or have any questions, please reach out to the church office through email or a phone call and we will seek to help you. For those who may be unable to access the internet, we seek to have a solution for you that will allow you to view the service.
What about Christmas Eve? The lockdown begins on December 26th, so this will allow us to gather on Christmas Eve for a short service starting at 6:30. We will have a couple of carols, a devotional and then be able to send each other off with a "Merry Christmas.” I am very thankful that we are able to do this and praise God for that and how he worked in the hearts of our politicians to enable this.
Why are we being obedient to our government in this lockdown? It's times like this that I look to passages like Romans 13:1-2, "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment." The Apostle Peter says something similar in his epistle, likely written during the reign of Nero Caesar: "Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good." (1 Peter 2:13–14).
RC Sproul put it this way: "The principal is easy; the application is difficult. We are not free, however, to disobey the civil magistrate when we disagree with it or when authorities make us suffer or experience inconvenience. It is ironic that this master text on civil obedience was written to the Roman Christians who were under the heavy hand of imperial Rome."
These are challenging passages to swallow. I would encourage each of us to meditate on what God's words have to say about how we interact with our governing authorities. We should seek to be faithful to what the Word of God says. 1 Timothy 2:1–4 commands us to pray for our leaders: "First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." So please continue to pray for them.
To stay up-to-date, I encourage you to download the Church Center App from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. This app has and continues to help keep our online community together. If you cannot download that app, you can access it on your web browser from online.knollwood.ca. You will be able to access our online directory on this app, continue to worship through online giving (There are still options for physical tithe) and quickly find our online stream of the worship service and our online bulletin. If you are part of a Care Group, you can also message your group through this app. There are a few more little things on there too.
As I look back at this year, I am reminded of Hezekiah's words in 2 Chronicles 20:21, "O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you." As the Israelites were faced with a situation of invasion from a far more powerful and superior force, the reaction in a helpless situation was to cry out to God. May that be our reaction. Encourage people and remind them that we may feel helpless, but our God isn't. He is sovereign, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, good, gracious, merciful, and so much more than words can describe.
Knollwood, please call each other, check-in with each other, send each other an email, text message, etc. We need each other to help point our eyes from our circumstances to our awesome God. I continue to pray for you, and I know that God will use this situation to glorify himself and for the good of those who love him. (Romans 8:24) Merry Christmas!
A couple of good articles for you to read from other pastors in Ontario: