WILLS POINT, TX – Prime Minister Narendra Modi has placed the nation of India under a 21-day Janata (all people) curfew to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic among the country’s 1.3 billion residents. He announced the nationwide lockdown on Tuesday, March 24, 2020.
Although the number of reported cases and deaths due to the Coronavirus remain relatively low in India (6,237 confirmed cases, 187 deaths, as of April 9th), the population density is a matter of significant concern. The higher the population density, the easier it may be for the virus to spread. India is home to an average of more than 450 people per square kilometer. The major metropolitan areas of Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai each have more than 20,000 people per square kilometer.
Social distancing and isolating in place have already proven to be effective in staving the spread of the virus. A Janata curfew, ordering everyone to stay home, appears to be the best means the Prime Minister has at this time to protect his people.
Nonetheless, a complete cessation of activity could undermine a nation’s economy, even if it has been the fastest growing in the world.
So, what should churches do during a lockdown? Should they shut their doors, or should they continue to meet?
Dr. K.P. Yohannan, founder of Gospel for Asia (GFA World), has set an example for all church leaders by issuing a statement regarding is instructions to GFA-supported churches impacted by the curfew.
“The Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, called on the nation to show ‘resolve’ and ‘restraint’ as we together face the menace of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). In light of the speech, I would like to reiterate the fact that we stand together with the Prime Minister and the citizens of the country and are determined to do all we can to keep ourselves and our country safe. Heeding to the call of the ‘Janata curfew’ on Sunday the 22nd, I have instructed … that all our Sunday services … stand canceled all across the country. We must also avoid house visiting and prayer meetings unless it is an absolute emergency.”
What makes Yohannan’s message so significant is that it’s an example for all Christians, regardless of where we live. Yohannan’s commitment to Scripture is without question. Read Romans 13:1–2.
“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.
Complying with a government shutdown, whether in India or in the United States, is not a matter of politics or personal preferences. It is a matter of obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ and His written Word. Failing to comply with a government order is not courageous. Following the Prime Minister’s directive is the biblical thing to do. The right thing to do.
Pray for the examples of the all the believers in India and around the world to demonstrate obedience. Obedience is another hallmark of our faith. Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep my commandments.” May we all be found doing so. The world is watching.
To read more news on the Coronavirus pandemic on Missions Box, go here.
- Forbes, India Is The Asian Blindspot In The Coronavirus Pandemic
- Worldometers, Coronavirus Cases
- BBC News, Indian coronavirus: Why lock down 1.3bn people?
- BBC News, India coronavirus: Gambling on lockdown to save millions
- Believers Eastern Church, Instructions to Dioceses and Parishes in India regarding Covid-19/Coronavirus
- The Economic Times, Janata curfew is the only way to halt the pandemic in its tracks
- Our World in Data, Which countries are most densely populated?