No hugs on Sunday morning. No joint meal with your Bible Study group.

Many Christians around the world are now isolated because of the coronavirus. For the Iranian church, isolation is nothing new. Former prisoner for his faith, Pastor Wahid, shares three tips on how to stay spiritually healthy as a church community in isolation.
His church is also empty. Wahid pastors a church outside Iran and now livestreams the services. He misses his church family. But in Iran, he learned that isolation doesn’t mean the end of a Christian community. These are his three tips for believer communities in isolation:

1. Pray for each other.
“Isolation is not the time to focus only on yourself. In fact, when I was arrested at a house church meeting and placed in solitary confinement for 36 days, praying for others is what kept me going. I had no one to talk to and no Bible to read from. But I prayed for the brothers and sisters that were arrested with me every day. And when we came out, I heard that the others had been praying for me too.”

2. Celebrate Holy Communion in a Small Group.
“When I was moved to a general ward, I found 2 fellow Christians. We found some juice and cookies, sat on top of the three-story bunk bed, and celebrated the Holy Communion. Celebrating it with just the three of us felt better then celebrating it at the house church. It made me feel strong.”

3. Realize that it’s normal to miss the church, but depend on God alone.
“I have had to miss my fellow believers on several occasions when the government shut down our church, when I was in prison, and now again when the virus hit. This has made me appreciate my church more. Love grows during the absence of those we love. But I am also reminded of my dependency on the Lord. Outside of prison, I might depend on myself or others. But in prison, I learned to depend on the Lord. I think this is what we can learn in this crisis –to expect from our God alone.”

A Christian in the Middle East