April 6, 2020

I was born in New Orleans when my father was a student at Tulane Law School. I am also a pastor. This makes me uniquely qualified to talk about pastors from Louisiana.

As our states, especially Louisiana, brace for the coronavirus tsunami that may possibly overwhelm our healthcare system, a pastor in Louisiana continues to hold worship services with hundreds of people in attendance, putting countless people at risk.

This tells me that while I have always assumed I have a bigger ego than any other pastor on the planet, and if you’ve heard any of my sermons you would understand why, there is a pastor who has me beat.

I do not believe a loving pastor would ever gather a group and needlessly expose them to such a vicious illness. This is not a separation of church and state issue. It is a love issue. What would God want?

God wants us to worship. But this does not mean meeting face-to-face, while there is such a huge possibility of transmitting a lethal virus to others. So we meet as a faith community online, which takes a tremendous amount of effort, planning, and coordination. And the real credit for allowing us to gather together as the body of Christ goes to the people you may never see on the camera.

Chris, Emily, Grace, and Adam, have spent countless hours doing all the technical things that have to happen in order for us to worship together safely. They are going the extra mile with a servant’s heart because they know it is what God wants of them. The same is true for each of us.

I truly believe if we love God, then we will do whatever we can minimize the spread of this illness. And while it may be inconvenient, practicing social distancing and sheltering in place are acts of love. Some may disagree with me. They are wrong.

Love is more than hugs, kisses, boxes of candy, and jewelry. True love, the type of love that God has for us, is sacrificial. This sort of love does whatever is necessary for the other person. For God, this meant letting his only son die in order to save us. And if God can make such a huge sacrifice, the small sacrifice we have to make to keep others safe from the coronavirus seems minuscule.

To truly worship God is more than just celebrating God for one hour on Sunday morning. True worship is living in love when it is convenient, expedient, and easy. True worship is also living in love when it is inconvenient, costly, and hard. Love is the only way for those who follow Jesus Christ.

John said, “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:8)

If we love, we will do everything in our power to keep others safe. It’s that simple.

Prayer: Dear Gracious Heavenly God, help me to always use the safest practices in preventing the spread of this terrible illness. Let my love for you and others guide my thoughts, words, and actions. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

This week, our faith family will gather together online on Thursday and Friday nights at 6:30 and on Sunday morning at 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00. I hope you will worship with us.

I pray your day is filled with joy and laughter.
Tom Robbins