Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Surviving the Plague

Covid-19 is a plague that has come to test humankind and nations on earth. The State of Sabah was almost clear of active Covid-19 cases until early September when the all the activities and campaigning for the State's Election took place. Twice in my sermon I had hinted strongly that I was not going to vote (it isn't compulsory to vote in Malaysia) but at the end I did. Did not Moses give up everything to suffer afflictions with His people? Last Saturday when I ministered in a wake service I realised I was taking considerable risks because of the confined space and the amount of time we spent inside the house to comfort the bereaved. Then I thought of John Calvin in the 16th century who also ministered to the sick when plague struck Geneva and he did not shy away from ministry just because of some disease. Interestingly, in Calvin's times, church services were never closed and only those infected were quarantined at home.

Even when the Election was over and then it dawned on us that the spike of Covid-19 was getting serious, some people were still distracted over politics, and not praying for the country and the State to ward off the plague. "If only I find someone to stand in the gap, saith the Lord, I will not destroy the land" (Ezekiel). "Can evil happen in a city if the Lord did not send it?" (Isaiah). People were distracted by the fact that one of the six nominated assemblymen could be appointed from a religious political party that did not contest in the Election. For about a week before the MCO, that was the discussion in church and in coffee shops while the Covid-19 cases were growing each day. Christian leaders should choose which battles to fight. Sometimes we are distracted by many matters and we fail to see the threat right in front of us. In vain I waited for a call to prayers, not even among the 30 pastors in the city who served in my denomination. The call never came. We needed an Ezra who led prayers and Daniel who called his three friends to intercession. But many prefer to stay on home. When conditions were still permissible, we did not take the opportunity and now we are reaping what we have sown. Prayer-less and powerless the Church has become and it is only by God's mercy we will survive this plague. 

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