I don’t believe God sends calamities. God didn’t send the coronavirus.
What I do believe is this: The Holy Spirit is busy insulating clouds with silver linings.
In the first hundred years or so after Jesus’ death and resurrection, the Church went viral. It grew exponentially. The Great Commission was infiltrating families, towns, countries and continents.
Jesus’ disciples grew in number daily.
And they did it in homes.
That’s right. Every church was a house church. The church spread like wildfire because the church was liquid. Then our ancestors turned the church into a solid. They built walls around it—both theological and physical walls. They set it in stone. They bricked God in. Sure, they put in doors and stained-glass windows, but cathedral doors are often locked and theological stained-glass windows are always closed. The church of the Middle Ages restricted access to God.
Then the reformation decentralised the church, allowing denominational divisions to thrive. Now, the world hosts over 30,000 distinct Christian denominations!
And yet, Jesus said to His Father, “May they be one as we are one.” Paul riffed on this prayer of Jesus, saying: “There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism.”
So, here we are in 2020. Governments in dozens of countries have restricted mass gatherings due to the rapidly spreading COVID-19. Sporting teams played games to empty stadiums attended only by TV cameras, but now most codes have cancelled their seasons altogether. Pop stars cancelled concerts. Places of worship have been closed. Mosques. Temples. Synagogues. Churches. The clouds hang low, blanketing the world in fear. The 30,000 Christian denominations that meet in some 15 million church buildings around the globe have nowhere to go.
Or do they?
The Holy Spirit is unrestricted and goes wherever He wishes, like wind through trees.
Have you ever flown through a cloud? We are in one now. Can you see the silver lining?
Millions of Christians headed home. Not to do church but to be the church. Christianity, for a month or two, is going back to its roots. People meeting in homes. Families worshipping together in sincerity. No sound systems. No professionals professing. The body of Christ is returning to the lounge room. Just people. At home. Snuggled into fluffed up couches, holding steaming drinks. And sharing their hearts.
God didn’t send the COVID-19. But when the “corona cloud” enveloped us, God said, “I’ll take it!” And He sent His Spirit with silver paint and a message: “Where two or three are gathered, God is with you.”