The Church that Jesus is building is totally and forever immune to Covid-19—or any other pandemic or set of circumstances that would ever force societal isolation. Am I saying Christians are immune to the virus? No, I talking about something very different and wonderfully profound here. I’m saying that no set of circumstances can thwart Jesus’ purposes or His Church.
Paul makes an interesting comment in his first epistle to the Corinthians:
9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. (1 Cor.3:9*)
There are two dynamics metaphorically given to us here:
First, to say we’re God’s field speaks of something fluid and organic. It speaks of something seasonal, changing, adapting, but always growing in the ebb and flow.
Second, when it says we’re God building, we’re talking about something structural, rigid and inflexible. Peter says the same thing about us in this regard.
5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Pet.2:5*)
What do these two metaphors mean to us? Well, I think it means that while our relationships are inflexible and rigid because we’re being built together by Christ, how we do ministry is always flexible and fluid.
Whether or not you or I understand this, we are, right now, seated in heavenly places in Christ, together with everyone else. There is no such thing as social-distancing in heaven, nor can there ever be! This rigid and inflexible connection, this “house” we have via our union with Christ, cannot be broken, certainly not by any earthly circumstances.
20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. (John 14:20*)
21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. (John 17:21-23*)
6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus (Eph.2:6 NIV*)
We are told to meet together (Heb.10:25), but did you ever notice that God doesn’t say a whole lot about how we meet together? This is the organic (field) part of who we are. This is what the Roman Empire found out in the first few centuries when they tried to stamp out Christianity. But Jesus’ Church only thrived under their persecution; it went underground, into caves and catacombs. The same thing happened more recently in China when they tried to stop followers of Jesus. They now estimate that the Chinese church is over 200 million believers, even though it’s illegal and they are severely persecuted for doing so.
And today we all face a different persecutor. It’s an invisible enemy that seeks to steal, kill, and destroy us all, whether we’re believers or not. And, while we pray it does no such thing, it cannot prevail against Jesus’ Church! It cannot even touch it because His Church is not made of this world. And while I write these words, there are millions of believers around the world, creatively connecting and gathering together, encouraging one another in cyberspace, as well as our being in permanent union in heavenly places!
16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. (Matt.16:17-18*)