After Pentecost; and before the calling of the first deacons, the apostles were street preachers and in constant conflict with the Pharisees. Gamaliel, Paul’s teacher, convinced the council not to martyr them but just to beat them. Acts 5 ends with these words: They took his advice; and after calling the apostles in, they flogged them and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and then released them. So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. The Apostles were civilly disobedient for the sake of the Gospel. Daniel and his friends were civilly disobedient when it came to false worship. God may, in our lifetime, ask us to stand against our own government as individuals or as a Church. I’m prepared, for instance, to preach the truth even if it’s forbidden. I pray you are all in it until the end as well.
I know that some of you feel that the measures taken to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus are baby steps against that day. Others of you feel that it’s a health department fighting something truly deadly and novel. Please know that as your pastor I’m not blind to either “side.” I appreciate both concerns. I will comply with the mask order because, as it currently stands, it’s not a moral compromise and may help. When/if it crosses the line (i.e. calls out churches separately), we will stand opposed. Until then, we will “pay the poll tax” (Luke 17:24ff) and make clear face-shields* available for those who have medical issues with the mask or are just plain claustrophobic.
*I have an email from Jackson County Health Department approving this plan. 🙂