Christians, above and beyond all other people, should have ample reason to practice hospitality—especially when others are not. We should do this not simply for the fact that it is a command given (Rom. 12:13; 1 Pet. 4:9), but we have a unique opportunity to seize this good practice while others forfeit it.
It has been interesting to gauge the responses of people during months of lockdowns, regulated gatherings, and mask mandates. Ours is a world that thinks little of serious matters like death and eternality. We paint a veneer over these things by assuming a certain level of safety on every given day, as if we are owed the predictable. Each of us steps out of the shower assuming we will live long enough to dry ourselves, don clothes for the day, and drive wherever we are going—and that all the while everyone else will drive equally as predictably. Yet when the pandemic struck people had to grapple with the very real truth that life itself isn’t predictable nor is it all that safe, and people haven’t handled that news all too well.
There are a multitude of reasons why this is so, but the baser instinct Covid has revealed is, for any lack of a better way to quantify it, a spirit of fear and a spirit of foolishness. People are afraid of dying. I will state that I believe this is a fundamentally appropriate response to death for those who do not know the peace and forgiveness of Christ. A spirit of foolishness has likewise been revealed in many who have no fear of death, yet simultaneously have no fear of God Himself. Theirs is, of course, the opposite reaction of those in abject fear where pride reigns. Though they rightly recognize any number of things can kill them, they fail to inquire of the condition of their souls before the holy and just God of all the earth.
Death to either group will not be a pleasant experience, where they slip from reality into a world of endless bliss in the presence of their Savior. They ought to be terrified at the prospect of losing whatever it is they cling to now, whether freedom or safety, simply because their life this side of eternity will be the best they ever have it and they shall have neither, if they fail to repent.
For many a Christian, this is a time revealing not only the things they have placed much stock in, which by design are purposed to fail them, but a shocking disregard of some of the most basic elements of Christian faithfulness. Gathering in person for church has become an optional endeavor. Some even go so far as to suggest that online sermons are an adequate replacement to gathering with the saints. For many in leadership, extra biblical mandates have been instituted from a position of self-derived authority rather than biblical authority. Singing is forbidden, congregants are turned away, consciences are bound where Scripture would give freedom of choice instead, and genuine human interaction is restricted—all for fear.
In many ways though I believe these problems have been evident within the broader church for some time. The Coronavirus pandemic has simply provided an opportunity for these things to be revealed. It has provided an excellent cover for unfaithfulness to the Great Commission, among many other things. Society has been moving in an insular direction for years and unfortunately the broader church has adopted a similar stance.