From gorgeous Cathedrals, Basilicas, and gigantic worship centers, where thousands of the faithful worship together, to small rooms, where twenty or twenty five people squeeze together, there are about 37 million Christian Churches or places of worship around the world today. So on any given Sunday, irrespective of denomination, the majority of the 2.4 billion Christians on earth gather together for worship. But not from Sunday, the 15th of March, 2020 – The Black Sunday! Due to the growing public fear and panic around the ever-threatening Corona Virus pandemic, governments of many countries were forced to put restrictions on public gatherings. Thus Sunday worship came to a halt! Millions of churches were shut down and those that were open had to scale down their gathering to twenty or thirty to prevent the spread of the virus.
Throughout the centuries, the world had seen many pandemics like smallpox, the Plague, Cholera, influenza, and HIV and even survived two world wars. Yet the worship in churches was seldom stopped. On the contrary, we learn that the people were exhorted to gather together in prayer and fasting to cry out to God for His compassion and deliverance from the calamity that was upon them. In the Bible, Jehoshaphat declared a fast when he was attacked by the advancing armies of three nations. “And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.” (2 Chronicles 20:3,4). Queen Esther asked Mordecai to, “Gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day” (Esther 4:16), when King Ahasuerus issued the edict to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish all Jews in his kingdom, on the 13th day of the 12th month, Adar. We find God Himself commanding His people to come together and fast and pray so that He can save them from the disastrous calamity He had sent upon them. “Blow the trumpet in Zion; consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the people.” (Joel 2:15, 16) When Peter was imprisoned by Herod, “many were gathered together and were praying.” (Acts 12:12) In the above instances, we see that the earnest collective prayers of God’s people, who came together, opened the gates of heaven. God’s Word teaches believers to come together in prayer and worship – where they are both encouraged and empowered. There is power when God’s people come together in prayer. This is unbearable and intolerable to the devil. By sowing fear and panic through the corona virus, and the ensuing restrictions, he has managed to block the billions of prayers, petitions, and praises arising from millions of churches around the world. This in turn could potentially delay the intervention of God! Sunday worship will remain halted until this pandemic is completely wiped out!
Let us cry out to God to end the corona virus pandemic and save mankind so that worship can be reinstated in churches as soon as possible, and that Black Sundays may never arise again in human history!
Tail piece: Worship has been stopped not only in churches but also in mosques, temples and other worship places, making sure that no collective prayers arise from earth.