Updated: Aug 20, 2022
As our hearts, minds, and bodies react to the trauma that COVID-19 has brought—the loss, grief, separation from family, isolation, long-COVID, and economic impacts—our spirits have also experienced brokenness, including the trauma of separation from the church family and the activities that come along with it. But what if the disruption in our spiritual lives was a Divine Disturbance? Used by God to reveal our brokenness?
Those places which were hidden and kept in the dark by our busy schedules and ambitions. It may be that through the pandemic, God stripped every schedule, every plan bare as we quarantined—calling us to stillness. A time to look at ourselves—spend time with ourselves in His presence and truly examine who we have become. No longer “protected” by the demands of work and our pursuits, existing in a place of need and deference. I can hear God calling out to us as He did Adam in the garden…where are you? Where Are You? How would you answer? I believe our Father and God is asking that of His church collectively.
As I sat in the isolation and stillness with God—realizing this was one way for Him to free me of external distractions—I asked Him what this time was for. Because I am convinced that Almighty God moves in this fallen world to draw His children near to Him. If we invite Him to do so.
Holy Spirit led me to Revelation 2: 3-5:
“I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name's sake, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.”
That shook me. His church has forgotten its first love and He was telling me so. Instead of living in the world, we became a part of the world, taking on its trappings and pleasures, the very opposite of what the writer of Hebrews tells us in chapter 12. Giving our allegiance to groups and organizations, individuals, and slogans—all things that are temporary and leading us away from God instead of drawing us closer to the eternal. And He’s calling His church to repent.
The division in the church is no different than the division in the world. Christians are attacking one another, telling others they are not Christians, severing friendships, breaking families apart, being divisive—just as the world is doing. Why? Because we hold our positions and parties more dear than we do the righteousness of our Lord. Forgive us Holy God!! Aren’t we supposed to be different? A peculiar people?
John 13: 34 and 35:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Where are we church? How can the world know our Hope if we don’t love one another as Jesus loved us? Are we so blinded to believe that He is OK with how we’re living? With how we are hurting the witness of His Perfect Name? He stripped us bare so we could no longer hide.
“Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
God has exposed us church. Exposed the truth that He is no longer our first love and is calling us to repent. He’s reminding us that He is active and watching us and that the Word will pierce and reveal the thoughts and intentions of our heart. We cannot hide. The truth will be uncovered.
And He’s calling us to be reconciled.
The church is the steward of the Ministry of Reconciliation. In 2 Corinthians 5: 18-20, Paul tells us:
“ All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling[c] the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”
An appeal to lay down our positions and our parties, the attacks and harmful witness and reconcile ourselves to Him. And An appeal to see others as God does. His image bearers. His dearly loved. How dare we throw someone away because they don’t agree with us! Our Father never does that—He didn’t do that with you or me. The world cannot reconcile itself. It has not the power nor authority to do so. God invested that work in us. Where are we church?
I often ask God after He’s prompted my spirit with a word He wants me to share, “You really want me to say this?” And His answer is the same, “Yes.” In this instance, He was urgent that in this Divine Disturbance, we are paying attention to Him. Watching for Him at work around us church. Our disputes over politics, the pandemic, and racism are killing us spiritually—and relationally. Why are we holding on to things that can remove our lampstand?
“…[S]peaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” Ephesians 4: 15-16.
Can we honestly say that we have been building one another up in love? I don’t believe so. That means then, according to this set of Scriptures, we are not growing up in every way in Jesus. Nor is each part working properly. So, if we’re not growing, what then is happening to the church?
I ask again, are we so blinded to believe that Jesus is OK with how the church is living? With the harmful witness of His Perfect Name? I beckon us to ask Him. And still ourselves for His response. I also encourage us to ask someone who’s not in the church how they view us. Be prepared for their answer. Get ready to look in the mirror.
Meet the Author
Andrea Y. Morris Bio
I love exploring the natural beauty of God’s creation and the man-made environment to understand how they co-exist and support one another. He has blessed me to live, learn and work in communities that support and strengthen my thirst for seeing Him transform both people and spaces for His glory. I served as the Mistress of Ceremonies for “Daughters of the King,” a Christian conference for young women from around the nation, training them how to stand in their royal position as Daughter of the Most High God. I’ve been blessed to share God’s word at several Ladies Day programs and conferences, and I was a keynote speaker at the Harding Lectureships in September 2018. I served as program co-chair for the 2012 National Christian Singles Seminar and the Friday Night Program for the 2014 Ladies Lectureship and Retreat. I have also been honored to present at local, regional, and national meetings and conferences throughout the U.S. on economic and community development issues and have been interviewed by various media on topics of economic development, workforce development, collaboration, transportation, and resiliency.
My foundational scripture is Jeremiah 1:5, believing that I have been called by God to be an ambassador to each “nation” He sets before me and trusting Him to equip me for this work. As an example of His equipping, I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Public Affairs from Indiana University, a Master’s degree in Urban Studies from Long Island University and a PhD in Public Policy from George Mason University. I am passionate about building God’s people, especially His daughters, to Stand, “and after you have done everything, to Stand,” (Ephesians 6:13) living a life under His covering and anointing. You can often find me snapping pictures on my adventures, writing about my life’s journey or watching/attending sporting and theatrical events.