I have watched with growing dismay the posts on social media that praise the actions of Californian worship leader Sean Feucht. CBS News stated that he is a pastor associated with Bethel Church in Redding, California.
This person is travelling across America holding huge worship gatherings in defiance of local orders against such events.
On a website where he is featured, it states that the authorities' wish to keep the general public safe, is a violation of religious freedom.
Check out the vision statement at: https://www.letusworship.us
Yes, there are restrictions and restraints on our freedom; which may in the future prove to have been an over-reaction by government. However, a quick reading of today's news headlines, shows real persecution as far more than not being allowed to meet to sing a few songs during this difficult season.
Recently Sean held a prayer service and protest against coronavirus prevention measures on the California State Capitol grounds. He is claiming more than 12,000 people attended.
I have seen the footage of these events and notice that no-one seems to be taking measures to prevent the spread of the virus. There is no 'social distancing' or wearing of masks.
If you take away the singing and praying, is this simply a crowd of people behaving irresponsibly, with scant regard for this very serious pandemic?
Are these gatherings any different to the groups of people we have seen worldwide, who hold drink and drug fuelled illegal raves and parties?
My understanding of Christian worship is that it is far more than a group of people singing songs.
Worship must be expressed in the way we live our lives on a daily basis. In Matthew 22 v 39, Jesus says that we need to 'Love our neighbours as we love ourselves'.
In these unprecedented days, should 'loving our neighbour' mean that we do everything we can to limit the spread of this virus?
How many of these people who gathered to express their 'freedom to worship', when returning to their homes and communities, risk infecting elderly or infirm neighbours, friends and families?
Some people are saying that this is 'Revival' or a new 'Jesus Movement'. I am not so sure.
Would Jesus choose to be associated with what appears to be blatant acts of irresponsibility, selfishness towards others and total disregard for those in government who are seeking to keep the general population safe?
Surely we who are Christians need to be an example of loving care within our communities.
Is that not a true act ofworship?