Responding to the Coronavirus
The news and the responses to the new coronavirus are developing very quickly. You’ve got more and more decisions being made each day that affect countries around the world, our own state, and even our city.
You have, on the one hand, official governmental responses, and then, on the other hand, you have all our own personal responses. On one extreme, there are people who don’t really think this is that big a deal, and they see all this as a huge overreaction. On the other end, you’ve got the people hoarding up on necessities and locking themselves at home. They’re getting ready for World War 3.
Well, how are we going to respond? That’s what I want to talk about today. Obviously, this isn’t what any of us expected last week to be preaching about today. But I think it’s important to address.
What we’re going to do today, for the sake of unity and clarity is talk about our response to what’s happening. And I want to start briefly with the administrative side, dealing with our church as a whole, and then secondly talk more about our personal response. And we’ll spend most of our time in the second category.
What are we doing as a church? A lot of you have already received notice about the changes we’re making.
I want you to know that we intend to honor the recommendations and requirements that are being passed on to us from the government. This is not about responding with panic, but about submitting to our authorities. We also don’t want to be reckless.
Last Wednesday, the governor of California ordered all events with over 250 people to be cancelled. On the following day, the mayor of Los Angeles recommended that events with over 50 people be cancelled or postponed.
Our church gathering is under 250 people, and though we are in Los Angeles County, we are not part of the city of Los Angeles proper. So, we’re not breaking any laws by gathering, but we recognize that new regulations can come up at any time.
So, we are going to do our best to announce to our members any changes that occur. And we’re going to ask you all to help us by passing along the information as well.
There will also be some conversations this week, and we’ll have to decide if what we’re doing right now is enough.
For now, what we’ve done is cancel everything except our main services and one class in the Fellowship Hall. There are no children’s classes or nursery. And there is no fellowship time. What we’re trying to avoid are clusters of people being too close together.
As far as our Family Life Groups are concerned, for now, we’re allowing each facilitator to make his own choice about what to do.
In addition to the changes in our schedule, we also want to do our part to pass on the recommendations given to us by the medical experts.
The Proverbs talk about the wisdom of many counselors and the wisdom of listening to advice, so that’s the spirit we want to be taking. Again, this isn’t rooted in panic, but in submission to authority and love to our neighbors. We are all being asked to do what we can to minimize the possible spread of disease.
I you have any symptoms, please stay home. Don’t come to church. If you live with someone who is sick, you should also consider not attending any gatherings. Even if you are not personally sick, you may be transmitting the virus.
Also, if you think you’re at risk of having been exposed to the new coronavirus, stay home too. And if you are at risk because of your age or underlying medical conditions, you should strongly consider staying home right now.
We’re not saying that because we don’t like you. We’re saying that because that’s the advice that medical professionals are offering right now. They are trying to minimize the number of people getting sick at the same time.
I will also add, that if you decide it’s best to stay home, please let someone know. Don’t isolate yourself.
For the rest of us, those of us who attend for now, please follow the guidelines given to us by the medical experts. Minimize physical contact and keep some distance between you and people outside your household. Personally, I’ve decided that I won’t be shaking hands or giving hugs and kisses, so don’t be offended by that.
Doctors are also recommending keeping space between yourself and other people when you talk or when you sit. Ordinarily, I’d be encouraging you to sit together as a church family, but not right now.
If you have any questions or comments about how we are proceeding, please contact me or any of the elders, or call the church office.
Now, during this time it’s important not just to be informed about what’s happening with our formal gatherings, but to think about how to honor God with your personal response.
This is important for your own life, but also important for the ways that God may use you to minister to others. So, from a more personal perspective, how should you and I be responding to what’s happening?
I’m going to give you three answers to that questions. Three biblical responses to whatever you’re seeing and hearing.
- Contrite Humility
- Confident Certainty
- Compassionate Ministry
1. Contrite Humility
- As opposed to the world's response of pride or overconfidence, we should respond with humility and repentance.
- Sickness and death is a reminder of God's holy judgment for sin, and it should move us to repentant faith in Jesus Christ.
- Romans 8:22
- Romans 5:12
- Hebrews 9:27
- Luke 13:1-9
- Psalm 51:17
- May God us this time to open people's hearts to salvation, and to use us to proclaim His truth.
2. Confident Certainty
- As opposed to the world's response of fear, Christians are to respond with confidence.
- For those who trust completely and only in Christ's death and resurrection for salvation, we have the guarantee of eternal life, and we know that our heavenly Father is working all things out for His glory and our good.
- Romans 8:28-39
- Isaiah 26:3-4
- Habakkuk 3:16-19
3. Compassionate Ministry
- As opposed to the world's response of selfishness, Christians are to respond with compassion toward others.
- This is a time when people should hear about Christ's love and see it in action.
- Acts 20:35
- 2 Corinthians 8:12-15
- Galatians 6:9-10
- Matthew 6:32-33
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