Don’t let COVID-19 stop you from celebrating the Resurrection

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Today, April 10, is Good Friday, which means Sunday, April 12, is Easter Sunday.

Easter Sunday marks the day Jesus Christ arose from the grave, following his crucifixion. The crucifixion is marked with Good Friday.

Jesus Christ was sacrificed to take the punishment for the sins of the world. It is only through Him that one can enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Traditionally, churches would be filled with their usually parishioners and a number of family members, guests, and occasional attendees. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, groups of 10 or more are prohibited from gathering.

Pastor Ethan Book reminded Marion County during the Friday afternoon press conference that there have been many times in human history when it has been difficult for people to gather to express their faith. He is thankful for the technology which has enabled many to be with their church families in some way.

“We can still worship together,” he said. “Everyone should plug into services this weekend in some way.”

It is troubling that houses of worship can be considered “non-essential” by our government. I understand the public health emergency, I understand that most churchgoers (older adults) are among the most vulnerable to COVID-19, but nonetheless, it’s hard for me to reconcile the First Amendment’s protection of the free exercise of religion with these restrictions. It is a Constitutional violation to threaten people with possible citation just for gathering to celebrate one of the most holy days of the year.

I am not recommending people ignore the warnings, but as I have previously said, we are a free people who have the right – from God, not government – to worship as we please even if it is at our own peril. The bottom line is no one has the right to tell a church it cannot be open for Easter.

Christianity teaches us that God has a plan for all of us, so if that means I go to church to worship my Lord and Savior and I catch a virus, that’s the plan. It’s a risk I run and I know I put others at risk by my actions, but there is also such a thing as prayer for the health and well-being of our brothers and sisters. But God’s top commandment has always been “Thou shalt not have any other gods before me” and I’m pretty sure that includes government.

This pandemic, in my opinion, shows that too much of everyone’s faith now lies with government and not God. It’s not really the individual’s fault. The government has usurped too much power from the individual – not just individual liberty, but the ability to survive.

So many of us are dependent upon our jobs that when the government shuts down many of them, more of us switch our dependency to government to keep our bills paid. The first question I have about this is, what gives them the power to deem your business to be “non-essential”? I’m pretty sure that every business is essential to their owners and employees. Why can’t bosses and workers be trusted to proceed with their operations as they see fit?

It is nice that locally we seem to be pulling together to help each other out. In my experience, that’s what Marion County, and Iowans, do. Not everywhere is so fortunate, I know, but as everyone become more dependent on each other, stop and think who is behind the places we depend upon? Food banks and hospitals typically have roots in Christianity. If government handouts did not exist, do you not believe that churches and religious organizations would work to help those in need? God kind of calls us as believers to do so.

I’ll admit that my faith in humanity remains strong and I might be naive about the good in people, but I am much more comfortable believing in God’s work through my fellow man than trusting government to meet my every need. God teaches us to put our faith in Him and He will see us through anything. This includes health emergencies.

But too often through this pandemic, there has been a great deal of reverence given to government. We need help; what is Trump going to do for us? What does the Governor say we should do? Will Dr. Fauci give us permission to come out and worship together?

I’m sure there are many Christians praying for guidance. It would just be nice if God got more attention because nobody else is going to save this country or defeat the disease. Not to discredit doctors or health professionals through whom God works, but ultimately, God provides us with solutions.

I’m troubled because I believe if we’re not careful, government will happily continue to eat away at our God-given rights. Let’s look at the Bill of Rights; as I mentioned, with the First Amendment, our religious freedom is being eroded much like our freedom of speech and peaceable assembly.

The Second Amendment is always under attack. The Third Amendment (housing soldiers) may not be applicable to today’s world, but you never know. The Fourth Amendment, securing us from improper searches and seizures, has been eroded with the Patriot Act. The Fifth Amendment is threatened with eminent domain and other land seizure legislation. Most criminal defendants willingly waive their Sixth Amendment rights, according to all my years following the court system. The same can be said for the Seventh, which ensures our right to a fair trial.

The Ninth Amendment reads, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” To me, that means if the government isn’t expressly granted the ability to oversee some aspect of your life, the decision is yours. How much life-controlling bureaucracy exists now? Even so much as trying to hunt or fish?

The Tenth Amendment reads, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” States have been willfully surrendering their rights and ability to make decisions to the federal government for years, simply by accepting taxpayer dollars confiscated at the federal level with strings and conditions attached.

We need to draw the line sometime against government overreach, and there is nothing more sacred than the ability to worship God and praise Him together on an Easter Sunday. Churches should be allowed to open to their congregations, should believers so choose to gather. Being a Christian has always been a matter of faith, and I believe He deserves the benefit of the doubt that He will see all of His people through any illness regardless of what the outcome may be.

Take care of yourself and thank you for reading.