Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church in Alberta, Canada, who was recently jailed for violating COVID-19 restrictions, has found a new way to hold services after police fenced off his church’s building last week.
On Sunday, GraceLife congregants met in an undisclosed location for a worship service. The service was livestreamed, but the faces of congregants were blurred out. The video was later uploaded to the church’s YouTube channel and has since amassed nearly 60,000 views.
As Coates greeted those in attendance, he asserted that “they can take our facility, but we’ll just find another one.”
According to Faithwire, two men (identified in the video as Joe and John) then came and led the church in song, including a rendition of the hymn “It Is Well With My Soul”. One of the men began by asking, “Did you ever think you’d be part of the underground church?”
Following the praise and worship portion of the service, Pastor Coates delivered a sermon titled “A Vain Thing,” which was taken from Psalm 2. Before delivering the message, Coates explained how his initial preaching text was going to be on Psalm 56, but he recognized that the church shut down was confirmation for him to change course.
“We need a Psalm more appropriate for an occasion like this. We need to hear a ‘Jesus is Lord’ kind of sermon,” he explained, which led to Psalm 2.
“As we read Psalm 2, I want you to consider that what we see taking place in this Psalm though it really describes something yet future to us, is a sense in which this is taking right now at present,” Coates said.
After explaining the context of the biblical text, Coates paralleled Psalm 2 to things that are happening today, namely how “governments all over the world are counseling together in a unified effort to oppress the people they govern.”
“In that context, those who are faithful, those who follow Christ and confess that Jesus is Lord are going to be the ones they have to silence and get out of the way because everyone else is going to fall in line,” he explained.
The pastor contended that “it’s going to be the Lord’s people who stand and herald him as king and call governments to submit to him as king and to govern in accord with the very Word that will judge them on judgement day.”
“Even as we think about our own government, we have called them to their duty. Unmistakably, we have directed them to their duty,” he added. “They know they are going to be judged in accord with the Word of God, that the Word of God is going to be the standard with which they are assessed and evaluated, and they still continue to persevere in their obstinacy. This is defiance.”
The service concluded with congregants singing the hymn “How Great Thou Art” and a scripture reading of 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Chuang Tzu Dreaming
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.