A prime purpose of the church has always been to convey...

The Christian Science Monitor

A prime purpose of the church has always been to convey to men the fact that God is ever with them. To do this, the church must represent healing power, show forth the love that surpasses human affection, symbolize the light, warmth, knowledge, and inspiration that give courage, health, peace, and uplift to mortals. The Christian ideal is not surpassed by any other, and the works of the Founder of Christianity fully equal that ideal. In time of storm and stress this church must stand out the more prominently by very contrast.

A layman, hearing from all sides of the spread of a prevalent epidemic, and being filled with fear thereby, might naturally conclude that this is peculiarly a time when he can find aid and comfort in the Christian church. But suppose he goes to church at the customary hour of service and the church is closed? Instead of the representation of spiritual power and presence, he sees the very symbol of powerlessness and lack; in the place of any expression of the Love that casts out fear he finds the churches filled only with fear. He remembers that in the Scriptures Christ Jesus said of his church, "The gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

To close Christian churches for fear of spreading contagious disease is to serve evil to a practical extent that outweighs nominal worship of God. To fear evil is to attribute greater and more extensive power to evil than to good, and that departs completely from the fundamentals of Christianity. When fear of disease prevents avowed Christians from meeting in their churches, have they forgotten or have they wholly failed to appreciate the assurance of the Christ: "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them"?

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