A church in Canada was forced to hold an "underground" service after the authorities barricaded its worship center.
Pastor James Coates, recently released from jail for holding worship services, held the church service at an "undisclosed location" last Sunday. GraceLife Church published the video of their online service early Monday, blurring the faces of members who attended the physical service, Faithwire reported. Watch the service at the bottom of this report.
"They can take our facility, but we'll just find another one," the pastor told the congregants.
After a few moments, two worship leaders came forward and the other blurted out, "Did you ever think you'd be part of the underground church?"
The two then led the church with the song "It is Well With My Soul."
After singing, Pastor Coates took the stage for the sermon. He said that he was planning to preach from Psalm 56 but following the shutdown of their worship center, he had to change the topic of his preaching which led him to Psalm 2 and titled it "A Vain Thing."
"We need a Psalm more appropriate for an occasion like this. We need to hear a 'Jesus is Lord' kind of sermon," he explained.
"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," the pastor added.
He continued by reading the chapter.
After explaining the context, he drew a parallel of the chapter to the current situation that their church is going through.
"Governments all over the world are counseling together in a unified effort to oppress the people they govern," he said.
"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," the pastor added.
He further stated that the role of the believers is to honor God and "call governments" to surrender to His lordship, ruling in accordance with God's Word. He also said that the government knew that it will be judged according to the Word of God but it continued with its "obstinacy," which he called a "defiance."
The service was ended with the song "How Great Thou Art" and declaration of the passage from 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17.
"Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word," the verses said.
On April 7, the church building was barricaded by the Canadian police after health officials in Alberta decided to "physically close" it, until its leaders comply with the province's pandemic regulations.
The move was criticized by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, the legal organization that represents GraceLife and Pastor Coates, stating that it prevents the citizens from "exercising their Charter freedoms of peaceful assembly, association, and worship."
Protesters came and removed the fences, but the government sent 200 armed riot police in response. GraceLife Church members weren't present when the incident happened.