Would you go to outdoor religeous services?
A priest in OKLAHOMA CITY has started a letter for open air services to the Catholic bishops. This can affect all churches as essential services. Please join & pray.
I wouldn’t/won’t sign that open letter. I do not believe governments are restricting religious gathers for some unjust or nefarious reasons. If we truly love people and are concerned about their wellbeing, we should do our best to keep them and ourselves safe and reduce the risks at this present time.
Nor would I say, as some do, that the blood of Jesus will protect us from the virus. Or that all of these illnesses are impotent because we can find a verse that says, by his stripes we are healed.
Also, I don’t believe it is a compromise of my faith and commitment to Jesus to not gather together with others in a particular physical location for a extraordinary situation as this. Especially since we don’t believe that these restrictions are lasting.
In addition, I hold to a different view of the “sacraments” than those stated in the open letter. I don’t believe we will suffer, miss out on God’s grace, lose our salvation, etc. if we don’t get to have the “sacraments” as we have become accustomed to receiving. In fact, missing out on receiving them for a period of time, may be good for us and increase the meaning of such when the time comes again when we are able to congregate and participate together.
Regarding outdoor services. I would enjoy doing that providing we can assure that no one will touch anyone or any things that other people have touched, that we all keep our physical distancing, no sick people attend, etc. and we wouldn’t be contravening any laws.
I believe that special provisions (with the help of health professionals) should be made for clergy to visit those who are seriously ill.
I agree with OWM. A pastor should be concerned not only about the spiritual well-being of his congregation, but also about their physical well-being. The congregation I am a part of is made predominantly of those in the at risk category. My wife is in the healthcare profession managing a needed medical service to a high risk population. As much as I would love to and miss gathering for a service it is not worth the risk of exposure to my congregation or for my wife. We should not presume on God that He will protect us from a virus because we are meeting to praise His name. Where I live there have been three deaths linked to men who attended a Christian conference where they were exposed. Can God protect? Absolutely. But He also gave us common sense and good judgment to make wise decisions. I would be foolish during a blizzard to expect my congregation to come out for a service. Same with this. I may have a right to meet, but is that wise? It may not be ideal, but the internet has been a wonderful means to keep us connected for worship. The epidemic of 1917/18 didn’t have this luxury. Get your worship on this Sunday.
Caveat – I am a former devout Catholic. And a friend of mine passed away last week while under quarantine from suspected Covid-19. Her family could not be with her. The grief over that is terrible.
The letter is concerning for a number of reasons:
1st – The government didn’t prevent many dioceses from meeting. Many bishops, including my former bishop, made the decision to suspend all in-person Masses. prior to government shut-downs. The writers are making religious liberty claims that they will lose strictly based on that. While I left law school to pursue what I thought was a better career for me, I do have enough legal background to see that their logic will fail.
2nd – They are making religious liberty claims to their own bishops. That’s not how the hierarchy of the Catholic Church works. The Pope cancelled Easter services at the Vatican – that alone should tell them that this letter is futile. If they don’t like the rules of hierarchy in their own church, perhaps they should reconsider their faithfulness to that church. They have been absolved, by their own church leadership, of the perceived sin of not receiving the Sacrament of Holy Communion each Sunday. If they truly are devout Catholics, this shouldn’t bother them. And they can still participate in online Masses.
3rd – Their page asks for donations. For what? A letter? Their claims for the need to pay an IT guy to run a website as simple as theirs are a little suspect, in my opinion.
4th – Clergy are called to watch over God’s flock. I watched one Sunday as my pastor stopped his sermon and left his pulpit to attend to the medical needs of someone in our congregation. He has the skills to do so. Apparently, someone complained and he went around apologizing to people afterward. When he came to me, he and I had a very serious conversation about the lack of need for the apology. How is a clergyman supposed to put a member of God’s flock in danger when the clergyman has the capability to help that brother in Christ? I think he is remiss in his calling if he fails to take the physical health of his flock into account. I feel that holding services online in an effort to protect God’s flock falls under that category. And so does my Pastor. He and our church leadership have worked hard to bring us daily Bible study online, with Sunday services.
I do, however, agree that Rite of Anointing of the Sick should be made available, but a number of Catholic dioceses have found ways to do that while taking medical precautions. I know a number of families who would be thrown into panic if a loved one did not receive the Rite.
I would not attend an outdoor service. Social distancing is too tough in that situation. I don’t see the difference between having a parking lot service and having an online service.
But to close – signing this letter may be psychologically important for many people. We live in a time in which we have little sense of control. If being able to sign a letter like this gives people some sense of control, then so be it.
No i would not go right now. As a Christian i am blessed indeed to h ave a personal relationship with my Lord Jesus Christ and when it is “all clear”, then will resume the gathering together with the Saints. This is a pandemic, not a religious persecution.
Wow, when I read that letter, I sure saw the difference between the Law and grace, between religion and relationship. It sure caused me to praise Jesus that He is our High Priest and our Mediator, and that in Him, we can go directly to the throne of God, with confidence. His presence is right here with me, not ushered in by any man. He hears my prayers and confessions directly, no need to go through man. My communion is union with Him in body, soul. spirit and mind… even if I don’t have a symbol of remembrance, I can still remember, because I am bought, redeemed, and I am His, because of His blood, His broken body, and His resurrection.
I absolutely believe there are times we must obey God rather than man. If I was convicted that God was calling me to minister in some specific way, I absolutely would do it, and walk in faith and stand on His promises, no matter what others said or believed. But, if a letter from congregants were demanding my husband, as a pastor, to do this and to do that and to pick up a fight they believe should be fought, rather than one the Lord is calling him to do, the government is no longer the one pushing disobedience of the Lord, the followeres are.
There is no way I would sign this letter.
Those that wrote the letter are those seeking to establish outdoor services to meet their sacramental needs. That is not a requirement for the church as the scripture. It comes from their church. Be aware that their church internationally has already dispensed a waver to that requirement for them.
Jesus said, “those that live by the sword will die by the sword,” in context to Peter’s violent action in the garden. The principle holds true with regard to engaging with a virus that could kill us. If we engage with this virus we, our family, and our neighbors will be at risk.
Would I go right now? No, I wouldn’t out of precaution…but that would be MY choice.
To me the issue is that we have the government restricting the constitutionally allowed movement, commerce, religious practice and ultimate freedom of MILLIONS of people just because “they”, the so called experts (whose model predictions have been so far off that even if they were a weather person, they would be fired for incompetence) told us what they thought we should be scared of, let alone all the criticizing our President for trying to shut down the inflow of people from infected areas to stem the tide at the source.
Millions of people whose lives will be impacted, not just economically because of this, local church bodies will not survive financially, poverty, depression, addictions are increasing, elderly depression, abuse and financial ruin, divorce, physical abuse to kids and significant others, suicide, and stress-induced illnesses and death will be a natural outcome because of this type of decision-making. Maybe the remedy should’ve been a scapel rather than a chain-saw approach because the price I see us paying as a country, and certainly my county & community, will probably never return or be acknowledged by those whose decisions to cut off nearly everything vs. strategically protecting the most vulnerable and taking measures to help us understand how we can carefully operate and protect others rather than create people reliant upon the govt to tell us when we can have our rights back after 7-10 wks of restrictions which is killing our local community with more than enough beds and equipment to serve our community, despite being in a hot bed state.
One reason for donations is the cost of postage today starts @ $.55. To make sure the message is reached in a timely manner, $2.50+.
Pray that every one acts by their conscience. Remember stories of those who stayed during epidemics without being diseased.