Have you heard the saying, “You must live under a rock if you haven’t heard about _______”? I suppose even if you lived under a rock you have heard about, if not been overwhelmed by, all the news about the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
We want you to know we are doing our best to provide you with a healthy environment when you come to church. But the most important measure is one that you can take before you leave home — wash your hands. Then come to church!
The following measures are currently in place and have been for some time:
- Weekly cleaning — this includes wiping down surfaces and routine cleaning. At times, this happens 2-3 times per week.
- We keep tissues, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes throughout the building.
- A crew disinfects all the children’s toys and play areas, as well as the tables, chairs, and countertops in the nursery and rooms 2 and 3.
We are adding the following measures:
- We are asking our guest groups to wipe down the areas they use, and providing them with the products they need to do it.
- In addition to the regular cleaning that we do, we will be giving more attention to handrails, doorknobs, lightswitchs, touchscreens, and keyboards.
- On Sunday mornings before you arrive, our we’re sanitizing all the most frequently touched surfaces.
- We have placed hand sanitizing lotion pumps at the Welcome Desk, the Son Country Desk, the kitchen in the East Wing, the upstairs kitchen, the main auditorium, and the snack area. (It helps if you leave them in those locations and don’t move them.)
- We are asking all of our Sunday morning refreshment volunteers to wear gloves when they prepare our snacks and coffee.
- Let’s all follow my son Owen’s example and move to fist bumping instead of hand shaking for a while.
When you think about it, all these measures should be in place not just because of of Coronavirus, but because of the seasonal flus that are more prevalent and affect far more more people every year.
But there is another dimension to this health incident. It’s the spiritual aspect of it. It seems there are two main ways people are reacting to the virus: fear or disregard.
Fear — Scripture teaches us that fear crowds out faith and leaves little room for trusting in the supreme power of God to care for us and provide in every situation, even a breakout of a virus (Isaiah 41:10). Fear causes us to miss the opportunity to serve and love others who do not know they could place their faith in God and find in him “peace that surpasses understanding” (Phil. 4:6-9). Fear robs us of living as “lights in the world” (Phil. 2:15) when we are as worried as the world. We can’t begin placing hope for our safety in all the things we can do, when it is better to do what we can and intentionally place our hope for safety in the providential love and care of our Lord Jesus. Our unsaved friends’ fear is an opportunity to show them how our lives are different because fear has been replaced with faith (John 14:27). So let’s encourage each other to flee fear and embrace faith!
Disregard — When I say ‘disregard’ I mean it in two ways. One is to disregard the virus as being harmless. It’s not; it should be taken seriously. Precautions should be taken to be safe and thoughtful. The other way I mean ‘disregard’ is when people play down the virus, they ‘disregard’ others who take the virus more seriously. It’s the snickering and eye-rolling and so many other ways we communicate that ‘those people’ are dumb or out of touch with reality. Again, we must look to the Bible to inform our hearts and shape our words and actions towards people who are feel differently than we do. Romans 14-15 teaches us to not look down on others. Instead we are to “please our neighbor for his good, to his edification” (Romans 15:2). Mutual love and respect is what sets us apart from the world (John 13:34-35). But to sneer or mock or look down on others for their conclusions on matters that are not of eternal importance is to fall short of the Lord’s commands and to be in sin. So while you might not be fearful, you equally harm the reputation of the Lord for your lack of Christ-like love for your brother or sister.
What should you be doing to prepare for the Coronavirus? I’m suggesting a few things. Really only reinforcing some things you already know.
- Wash your hands — a lot. It’s more effective than hand sanitizer, of which supplies are scarce and limited. But soap and water are readily available.
- Lay off the news. Only check your fav news source once a day maybe. Remember, they are more interested in keeping your coming back to their web site again and again than they are in giving you a balanced, factual report on any given situation.
- Wash your hands.
- Memorize key verses about fear and faith. Like Psalm 94:19. It’s a wonderful verse! “Whenever I am anxious and worried, you comfort me and make me glad.” (Good News Translation) The best way to learn something is to teach it. So memorize verses with your children or spouse or in your SG or bible study.
- Wash your hands. (remember that repitition emphasizes a key point of the author!!)
- Confess your fear or your dishonoring heart attitude to a friend and ask them to pray with you about it.
- If you really want to get poked in the eye, read this article of the faith and example of the Chinese church. It will challenge you to consider your own faith and how the virus is effecting it.
All for now. Keep the faith. Wash your hands. I’ll fist bump you on Sunday!