WHERE IS THE CHURCH AMIDST THE STORM OF COVID-19?
Where is the church amidst the storm of COVID-19?
The banning of religious congregations in Uganda, as one of the measures to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, is a game-changer in the way the church functions and exerts its influence on society. The role of the church may perhaps not change but the understanding of the church and how it executes its function has to change. Let us term this a wake-up call!
Spiritual stewardship has for long been through physical gatherings, and present circumstances have reduced it to relying on media and digital platforms to reach the faithful. Although this innovation qualifies that the Gospel cannot be chained, it provokes the traditions of attending church but with minimal impact on the transformation of the mind and heart.
Uganda being a nation built on the foundation of God, the church has to step up and take leadership in these challenging times of the pandemic. The crisis Uganda is faced with today is not the COVID-19 pandemic, it is a crisis of leadership ironically in a God nation. What the pandemic has done, is to expose this leadership crisis. A leadership crisis is an indictment on the church that slept on the job and should be held accountable.
This calls for the church not to limit its mandate to preaching the word of God but also be the answer to the provoking questions of the times. In times of a leadership crisis, the church should step up and offer the required leadership. For instance; Where is the church in offering relief to its sheep? Talk about tending and feeding the sheep as instructed.
Where is the church in reproving and correcting political leaders who abuse office-God’s authority by stealing COVID-19 money? Where is the church in offering God’s country leaders that will not depart from the way of God? Talk about the church transacting with the world and support political leaders who give gifts. Where is the church in speaking against all forms of social injustices especially those propagated by those with power? Yes, the voice of the church is faint and its influence feeble.
The church by limiting its work to only spiritual nourishment is an accomplice to the social injustice Ugandans face that has been exacerbated by the pandemic. The church is expected to reprove and correct leaders in love, demonstrate the gospel in acts of charity and deeds of good conduct, nurture leaders that lead in the way of God among others.
Jesus Christ, the foundation and yardstick of the Christian faith provided more than spiritual leadership in the challenging Roman times. The circumstances then have similarities to the current. For instance, corruption and greed among Roman officials existed then as it is now. Human Rights violations and political persecutions existed then as it is presently. The unfair tax system and the neglect of the vulnerable existed then as it is now. Some of the injustices were perpetrated by the legalistic church (Pharisees and Sadducees) as it is currently. Talk about church leaders demanding what they don’t practice like accountability and transparency!
The church in Uganda is dead, and rightly so because of its fruits. Remember the scriptures say, that we shall know them by their fruits. A country with God as its head can’t have leaders who have normalized sin in form of theft of public resources, impunity, injustice, and human rights violations. The church is called to be the “light of the world. A city on a hill that cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14 which basically implies that it ought to be a model of Christ in the transformation and renewal of people’s hearts hence the moral obligation to do good.
Public show-offs of prayer without renewed minds and changed hearts amount to nothing. Impunity in this country especially from those in leadership is a sign of people whose hearts are of stone and the word of God has not taken root to change them. And unfortunately, majority hide behind religion to cover their filth, but their fruits say otherwise. A changed heart serves and doesn’t seek to be served! A changed heart doesn’t seek self-glorification through the primitive accumulation of wealth! A changed heart is moved by compassion and loves selflessly irrespective of tribe, ethnicity, or political affiliation! In Christ, we are neither Jews nor Gentiles
The church is me and you but the leaders of the church have a higher responsibility and higher judgment. COVID-19 is a wake-up call for the church and the solutions to the current challenges that came with the pandemic lie in the church and not world leaders. After all, we have already seen how far the politicians have taken us.
For God and My country!