How should Christians respond to the Scottish worship ban?

Feb 8, 2021 by

by Lois McLatchie, Christian Today:

This week, it struck me that leaders from the Church of Scotland, the Free Church of Scotland and the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) have made a united public stand. A little historic research into the origins of these denominations will remind you that they haven’t always seen eye to eye.

Nevertheless, here these leaders were, joining in legal action to end the government’s complete criminalization of public worship. In January, Scotland became the only country of the UK – and in fact, in most of Europe – to do so, without even allowing those who deem it essential to gather in a restricted and “Covid-secure” manner.

The case builds on a letter signed by 200 church leaders from across Scotland last month (and a further 300 from across the UK) that registered serious concerns with the government’s decision. Soon, the voice of another legal challenger will join the choir – this time from the Catholic Church. Canon Tom White of St Alphonsus Church in Glasgow is in the process of fundraising £50,000 to bring the matter to court.

For Christians watching from home, these cases can pose a difficult conundrum. We are certainly called throughout scripture to defend the weak and the vulnerable – to “deliver them from the hand of the wicked” (Psalm 82:3-4). And it is indeed Covid-ridden hands – and noses and mouths – that we hope our isolation and housebound activities will shelter them from.

And yet the deprivation of attending communion, or gathering to worship, for months on end feels wrong too. We know we should be following the example laid out by the early church in Acts, who “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” These Christians gathered despite immense risks – in the very face of death itself.

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