What we have been experiencing with the coronavirus has been called warfare. Humans all over the world have been attacked by an insidious virus that threatens the life of everyone. We have been told that certain categories of people are more susceptible than others. In WWII people sought safety in bunkers or bomb shelters. Today we seek shelter from an invisible enemy behind a mask and “safer at home” order. With the research and guidance of some very smart people and with the help of God, we will win this war. But in the mean time, we are to encourage one another. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 reminds us to “continue encouraging each other and building each other up, just like you are doing already.”
The Church has been under attack by an invisible enemy from its very beginning. But Jesus promised that enemy would not prevail. John Wesley once said, “We have not only one faith, one hope, one Lord, but are directly engaged in one warfare.” Really? Are we at war with something or someone other than a virus? We sing hymns that sound like we are at war. Such as, “Soldiers of Christ arise and put your armor on,” or “Onward Christian soldiers marching as to war,” or “We’re marching to Zion.” We sing these hymns with no thought of doing combat. But perhaps we should.
If the Church is at war, then where are its weapons? What is in its arsenal? Has Jesus left the Church defenseless? No, He has not. He has given us a powerful “weapon” and showed us how to use it.
The weapon we have is love. It is the only weapon needed to defeat the enemy of the Church. Sad to say we don’t know its full power because it has never been fully tested. Dare we risk testing the power of love on everyone we meet? We take this war to the enemy by showing everyone compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, patience, forbearance and forgiveness. The war against disease is very real, but so is the war against hate and the pain it causes. If the weapon of love is successful, then the peace of Christ will be the reward of victory. Just for fun, let’s try it.