As you all are very aware, the recent outbreak of COVID-19 has stirred up many concerns and in many cases triggered a lot of fear and unnecessary panic. As the Church at large, I believe it is critical for us to be informed with the facts but also respond with faith, prayer, and wisdom. The following is a make-sense, concise review of how we are approaching this concern. As believers, we are not to be influenced by fear, remembering always how the perfect love God has for us is designed to “cast out fear” (1 John 4:18).
FAST FACTS ON COVID-19
- COVID-19 was first detected in China and has now been detected in over 100 nations, including the United States.
- This virus has recently been declared a pandemic, but much remains unknown, with fatality totals running much lower than for the seasonal flu (which has killed at least 20,000 people in the United States so far this season); yet with the percentage mortality over against contraction a little higher (3.4% as opposed to fewer than 1%). According to the World Health Organization, COVID-19 is deadlier than the flu based on current numbers, but it does not transmit as easily.
- For most of the American public, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low. For the already sick, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems, the risk is considerably higher.
Unfortunately, the threat of infection exists every day, and in almost every way. God made our immune systems to fight off the pathogens in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. Ninety-nine percent of the time, it (our immune system) wins the battle without us even knowing a battle has been waged. Yet, that 1% of the time, when we become aware of the fight (symptoms), too often dominates our attention. Still, neither illness nor the threat of illness should cause us to panic, but to trust God. The Lord remains our refuge and strength, “an ever-present help in trouble” (Ps. 46:1). To trust in the Lord amid trouble is to experience and bear witness to the power of Christ.
We are called to be people of prayer, caring for the infirmed (Matt. 10:8), at times at the risk of our own lives (John 15:13). Pray for our leaders, doctors, and caregivers, to bring healing and be protected from harm. In addition, pray for those who have lost loved ones.
We are called to use wisdom at all times, so here’s what that looks like:
Our worship service will take place at the Avondale Meadows YMCA as planned this Sunday.
However, if you are sick, think you might be, or have recently travelled from a heavily infected location, please exercise all the wisdom available and stay at home. We will be live-streaming service so you can stay connected and join us in spirit and faith. Also, if you have a specific prayer request, you can let us know on Facebook, Instagram, or email us at email@example.com. We’d love to pray for you. For those able to attend, in our partnership with the YMCA, we will be taking an extra measure of care when it comes to the cleanliness of the facility, especially our City Kids spaces. We are an affectionate family, but ask that everyone be mindful and respectful of personal space and avoid shaking hands and physical touch. Our team will be taking other additional measures to ensure as safe an environment as possible.
For the next 3 weeks (beginning Monday the 16th through Friday April 3rd) our City Groups will be facilitated via Google Hangouts. City Group leaders will send out invitations to their members. This is also a great opportunity for those who have yet to sign up for a City Group to sign up and participate as we make this transition.
Wash your hands! We recommend you check out the CDC Flu Prevention Guidelines and Steps to Prevent Illness. These include things like washing your hands, covering your mouth (in your elbow) when you cough, etc.
Remember, we are called to be lights in the darkness! It is in these moments when light is needed the most! No disease, no war, no fear will stop the advancement of the gospel and the building of God’s church. Stay in faith, stay in the Scriptures, and let’s stay together trusting God for a speedy and safe resolution to this disease and its effects.
Whether you are in person or online, this Sunday we are going to stand together in prayer and worship and declare God’s Word over our families, over our city, and over the nations!
We will continue to keep you informed. Please keep an eye on our social media platforms and email for future updates. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our leadership team.
Lead Pastor // City of Lights