Lord, currently I’m sitting by the liftbridge over the St Croix River in downtown Stillwater, MN. My heart is so heavy. I need a place of tranquility like this to pause and listen to what’s on Your Mind for the North Star State.
I began my fast this morning to call the Church to pray. Since March 13, 2020, all houses of worship of all faiths of Minnesota have been closed. Our Governor, Tim Walz, declared a state of “peacetime emergency” in response to the Wuhan pandemic. While I support his initial response to Covid-19, I do not understand or endorse the total ban on all of our normal expressions of worship.
Though I am committed to the way of Christ, my heart aches for those Jewish neighbors blocked from Pesach or Passover, Muslims blocked from kneeling together for Ramadan, just as my spiritual family suffered an Easter without the Last Supper, and the healing fellowship of our brothers and sisters. While quarantines do have precedent in our State’s history, the shut-down of the Church and all houses of worship, including their physical and collective acts of worship is unprecedented! Dear Governor, we love you, and need you to survive, but this is killing us inwardly, crushing our free religious choices, and limiting our own decisions to risk getting a flu versus meeting with Our Father.
Dear Governor, we kindly, respectfully, but resolutely dissent! I respectfully but firmly disagree that Covid-19 “social distancing” necessarily trumps our freedom of religion. I respectfully and firmly call the Church of Minnesota to fast and pray with me until the complete and uninhibited restoration of our “inalienable” rights are restored. I call members of all faiths to join me in this “Holy Protest”.
So we find ourselves in the same conflict as generations of the faithful. We have been served with an avoidable and unnecessary ultimatum; “Social distance, halt worship, or become an outlaw.” About two millennia ago, the Apostles found themselves embroiled in a similar controversy; “Why do our beloved brothers now consider us enemies?” In Acts 5:28,29 we see this conflict in early Church history.
“We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us responsible for this man’s blood.”
There surely must be a way to resolve this! We can afford our Churches, Synagogues, Mosques, and Temples the same courtesy to remain open as Target or Wal-Mart! Let us fast and pray to the One until then. We must not fail to meet with G-d for He is worth it! Dear friends, old and new, let us declare to the ages; “Worship is essential!”
James D. Orvis – Pray Through History – May 11, 2020 – Iyar 17, 5780