Spotlight 13/2021: Fellowship in prayer
The COVID pandemic has claimed many lives in South-East Asia, District Apostle Edy Isnugroho says, resulting in a sense of fear and despair. Fellowship in prayer and divine services are helping the faithful in their fight against this threat!
In South-East Asia COVID cases have lately jumped up significantly. The people of Myanmar are suffering particularly as case numbers spike. In addition to the chaos and violence the country has been experiencing, there is now also the added threat of the pandemic.
Indonesia is currently the epicenter of the pandemic in Asia. Some 1,500 people die every day and there are thousands of new infections; millions are suffering and poverty is increasing. People are very anxious and afraid, also our brothers and sisters.
Despite the great challenges, the Indonesian government calls for optimism. Earlier this month, the government held a National Interfaith Joint Prayer. The President said among other things: “The government alone cannot overcome this pandemic. All parties must unite to fight together. On top of all other efforts, spiritual efforts are needed as well. Because only God can help to get rid of the pandemic.” The New Apostolic Church Indonesia responded to this call and invited brothers and sisters to an online event, a common prayer.
Many people are joining forces to help others in distress. But there are also those who are silent and are doing nothing for fear of infecting themselves or even those who blame and judge the sick.
While we can only gather sporadically in our congregations during this pandemic, I have observed that many brothers and sisters truly long for normal services again.
- A youth with special needs always comes to church to do the cleaning and to attend online services.
- Some members take a boat to a congregation where they can join online services.
- A retired Shepherd who has undergone eight surgeries diligently attends services.
- An elderly sister who slipped in the church toilet and suffered a fractured hip continues to attend divine services.
- A Priest who had been suffering from chronic lung disease for some years asked the visiting Apostle at the time to pray for him. He recovered and has since been serving his congregation with great joy.
But there are others who do not come to church for fear of being infected or transmitting the virus, or for other reasons.
Our Chief Apostle solemnly reminds all believers that regular participation in divine service is an essential component of our preparation for Christ’s return. To deliberately and regularly refrain from attending divine services—when we are allowed to come to church—can be detrimental to our salvation. The commission of the Apostles is to prepare the Lord’s bride. This includes the preparation of both the individual as well as the congregation.
In order to be with Christ eternally, we must already seek fellowship with Him here on earth. This also means fellowship with His own here and now in the congregation, where we can learn many things:
- to overcome our differences, to unite, and to work together;
- to forgive one another and to reconcile;
- to share our joys and sorrows;
- to comfort one another and to be happy together.
Let us pray wholeheartedly that we may soon be able to again have in-person services and a normal church life. We trust the almighty God will answer such a request. He will accomplish His work and give us a glorious future.
Photo: NAC South-East Asia