I am thankful for a lot of things. I am thankful for a God who lives and a life redeemed. I am thankful for a wife who loves me and four children who love me too.
I am thankful for a church, where I feel comfortable yet challenged. I am thankful for my Christian brothers and sisters, as we walk this road together.
I am thankful for a workplace, where I call many co-workers – friends. A place where I don’t dread to work, yet feel like I fit in.
I am thankful for my family and friends, a close bond of love and grace. I am thankful for friends who laugh and say things to my face.
I have a list of people and things, all of which bring me joy; yet in my heart I feel torn.
I feel torn because I see my country moving from its roots. Where love, trust and openness are replaced with thin half truths. Promises of freedom of speech – are met with empty rooms; as events and people are cancelled because they don’t flow with the mainstream ‘norm.’
Yes, I feel torn because I am watching these things unfold: Government create laws that contradict how this country was born. Freedom of Religion and expression sound great on paper you see, but forcing the Church to choose who can come in and who can’t, was never meant to be.
If someone wants to go to a church – regardless of denomination – there is something waiting at some churches, that will determine if you’ll get in.
“Do you have your passport?” a man asked at the door. He held out the card reader, waiting for her phone.
An older woman, holding her Bible and her purse so tight; this is the first time she’s been asked this, now the truth will come to light.
She stared in his eyes, with tear stains down her face; the grief of her husbands death haunts her yet again. She spent 40 years at this same church but now…
“I don’t have a passport,” she said in dismay, “I just need to come in and be in the presence of God.”
The man stared straight in her eyes and said rather factly,
“I’m sorry Grace, you can’t come in, you know the rules that were chosen.”
Her heart is torn, she stared in disbelief as the man closed the door. She’s been shut out of her community church, all because she didn’t conform.
She got in her car and drove back down the road, as the tears flowed down her face. Meanwhile back at church, Michael who had held the door was sitting in disgrace.
The words of Jesus came to him, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
However those words no longer apply to him.
He just can’t let her in. The government gave two options and the church chose the first, so it must turn out right in the end. After all the church always follows God’s will, right?
“It’s not my fault,” Michael said aloud, “Grace is obviously not informed.”
Grace pulled in her driveway and parked her old car; her tears stopped falling as she opened the door. She walked into her house, sat at the kitchen table and bowed her head . Her husband was gone, everyone she knew was in that church, and now because of a new rule she was excluded from a house of God? Surely this can’t be!
She stared at the church bulletin resting on her Bible. Anger swelled in her heart as she reached for her phone, she dialled a number and her hands shook as she waited.
A voice answered on the other line.
She gathered herself. “Pastor, do you have a moment?“
“Yes, I do. Only for a minute though, the service is about to start.”
“This is Grace. I couldn’t get into church today.”
A long pause followed as she found her words, “I don’t have a passport.”
There was silence on the line. The moment was near….the decision was nigh!
Does man conform to God’s standards or the world?
“I’m sorry Grace. You know the law.”
“Then you can take your government funding and charitable tax status with you!”
She slammed down the receiver and ran for her bedroom. Grace fell on her bed and cried to whom?
To God she did cry. This is the prayer that she said,”
Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. Why O God, are they doing this to You? A law in effect, which limits who can get it? I thought our mission was to bring the lost to Him? Whether you’re vaxed or unvaxed, all deserve the gospel. So why have some churches chosen to play such a gamble? Your presence is so great and so pure. God forgive them for being short sighted, and for thinking about their own comfort, O Lord.
The Good Sheppard knows who are His. He doesn’t require medical proof in order to get into the sheep pen. When we get to heaven, we will all have to give an account. May the Lord have mercy, upon the church leaders who turned people away – who needed to hear and see the gospel at work- all because they obeyed man and not God.
“But Peter and John replied, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you decide.”
Acts 4:19 TLV