Coronavirus panic has swept the nation.
I want to start out by saying this is only my opinion on the subject. I am not a Pastor, a Doctor, or a Scientist and I will not be held responsible for you or your church’s decisions on this matter. That being said…
From the information I have seen on this, this virus is very dangerous for a small portion of the population. Specifically people over the age of 65 and people with pre-existing conditions. Death rates outside of China have been consistently dropping. Here in the U.S. the death rate is being shown as 1% as of yesterday and that number is likely much lower as younger people may not display any symptoms of the virus at all (and so would not have been tested). There have also been a number of reports of people saying they think they have it but were not able to get tested.
Here in Ohio, we are taking this very seriously. We closed restaurants and bars so that they were only open for take out. Kids are out of school for at least 3 weeks, possibly the rest of the year. My entire company is now working from home. Stores are open still at this point in time. At this time in Ohio, it is up to the churches on if they are going to stay open or not. Sunday we were one of the only churches around that were still open. When the new guidelines came out saying you should congregate in 10 people or less we decided to shut our doors.
So should we wet coronavirus affect our church services?
So should we wet coronavirus affect our church services? In my opinion, at this point in time, it is worth closing. A large portion of the church-going population is over the age of 65, and or has pre-existing conditions. In this day and age, there is no reason to put all of those people at risk. We have the technology to worship together even if we are on the other side of the world. So far this entire site has been dedicated to helping assist in how to do this. This week for our Wednesday service my pastor and I sat down together and taped a service to go out to everyone. After it was over I spoke with him about if he thought it was the right thing to do and he said it was because it was not worth risking people’s lives. I told him I appreciate his opinion on it and I was glad we canceled the service, but mostly for him. Our pastor meets both conditions that would make him at a higher risk and he is the one who has to hand every single person communion when we have it.
I know you are going to say things like “This is when people need church most” and “God will keep us safe”. These are the most common arguments and they are correct. However, people arguing this are not looking at things from the correct perspective. The Church is not a place, it’s the people. Here is a great article about that from Truth or Tradition. So yes right now more than ever, people are going to need the church. While you may not be able to physically be there with your church members, please make sure you are reaching out to them and making sure that they are ok. Start a prayer list and pass it around. Do online services. Today I set our service to Premier on youtube so that everyone could watch it live together at the same time if possible.
Now to address “God will keep us safe”. God is keeping you safe by providing you with Scientists and Doctors that know the best advice to give you on this matter. Take that advice. This reminds me of an old Sermon my pastor from my church in Florida gave. Pastor Paul Arnold gave a story about a lady during hurricane Katrina who was on her roof because the waters had risen into her house. While sitting on the roof a boat passed and asked to take her to safety and the lady replied: “No thank you, Jesus will save me”. A couple of days later another boat passed and again she told them “No thank you, Jesus will save me”. About a week in a helicopter came down to rescue her and she told them “No thank you, Jesus will save me”. It wasn’t long after that, that the woman died. When she got to heaven she asked Jesus, “Why didn’t you save me?” and He responded “What do you mean? I sent 2 boats and a helicopter”. The moral of the story is don’t be blind to the miracles of Jesus.
The last thing that I expect to hear is something along the lines of “When it’s your time, it’s your time. Were going to a better place after this anyway.” Once again, this is correct. People are going to die from this disease and some of them will be Christians and they will be going to a better place. However, as Christians, we should know and believe that human life is sacred (Here is a good article about this from Compelling Truth). According to Genesis 1:27, we are made in God’s image. Our bodies are Holy and they belong to God and so we should treat them as best as we can and try to avoid dying. When God calls you home, you want to know for sure you did all that you could to treat the body he gave you with the most respect you could.
Flattening the curve.
The hope of the current administration is to flatten the curve of the virus. Think about it this way, we have like 350ish million people in the US. There are maybe a few hundred thousand hospital beds. If everyone got sick at the same time, there would be no room in the hospitals to care for all the people. Even if only 1% of the population were to get sick and need a hospital bed, that is 3.5 million people. Imagine a graph, the vertical is the number of people needing to be in the hospital and the horizontal is time in weeks. Right through the middle of the graph horizontally is another line which is the number of hospital beds we have. We want to be able to keep the number of sick people per week lower than the number of hospital beds.
So to do that, they are taking action to slow the rate of people getting sick to a reasonable rate where everyone can get the care they need. At the same time working on getting a vaccine going so that fewer people will need any medical help at all. By closing the physical church, we are helping millions of people in the U.S. by helping to flatten the curve of the virus. Do your part and try to follow the guidelines provided so that we can help people make it through these hard times.
So should we wet coronavirus affect our church services? Yes.
God bless everyone. Stay safe.