I have been reading a great book called Analog Church by Jay Kim. His insight into the digital world is so helpful particularly as it relates to the challenges of Covid and its effect on the local church. I want to share one of his thoughts and then respond to it.
Jay Kim writes, “In confession there takes place a breakthrough to community. Sin wants to be alone with people. It takes them away from the community. The lonelier people become, the more destructive the power of sin over them. The more deeply they become entangled in it, the more unholy is their loneliness. Sin wants to remain unknown. It shuns the light.” Sin is a beast that thrives in the deep seas of isolation and loneliness. Confession brings sin up into the open air, where it cannot breathe and will eventually suffocate and die. And so, confession is the way we ourselves come up for air, out of isolation and into true community. In our churches, we must teach, inspire, and equip the people we serve and lead to do this difficult yet necessary work, to learn and live out the art of confession. This work requires trust, which is developed over meaningful time spent together, often over a cup of coffee or a meal. And this means that we must create more spaces and opportunities to do just that.
I think Kim does a great job identifying the challenges of sin and the need for the church. Now I am a hopelessly flawed hopeful Christian. I massively offend our perfect and holy God everyday multiple times a day. Now even as I write that statement I want to down play just how broken and wicked I can be. So with the church in view as the hospital for spiritual sickness how is Satan using Covid to lure a holy people who are now separated from good spiritual health care into despair, loneliness, and sin. Kim says “SIN IS A BEAST THAT THRIVES IN THE DEEP SEAS OF ISOLATION AND LONELINESS.” As a pastor talking on the phone with friends, standing in yards to say hello, checking out in the grocery store, and over shared meals in our small sphere, I want to tell you that people are struggling. They have been removed from the critical spiritual health care they need. While they may never contract Covid, their very souls are being torn apart, and in some cases that will leave a bigger scar than contracting Covid.
So how would I propose we remedy this problem?
1. We have to confess or sins to God. 1 John 1:9 tells us if we confess he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Who of you needs a cleansing?
2. We have to confess our sins to one another. James 5:16 tells us to confess your sins to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed. We need others in order to be healed. Do you believe that? Is it time to go and stand in someone’s yard or pick up the phone and confess our sin to them so that we might be healed?
3. We have to remember that Jesus has overcome the world. John 16:33 tells us that in the world we will have tribulation. But take heart; because Jesus has overcome the world!
4. We must gather in the flesh in very creative ways depending on Covid, persecution, etc so that we can commune with God and others and bring the devil and his schemes into the light where they can be destroyed.