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Regarding Covid-19, the flu, etc.

I sent this email to my church family on March 5th, a week before the coronavirus was declared pandemic and beginning to spread in exponential numbers in Southern California. Some of the details I would change if it were sent now (e.g., more encouragement toward social distancing) but I’m posting it here to remind myself when I get swept up in the latest news … and for anyone else who visits here.


Hi church family,

I was reminded of this psalm today as I was reflecting on some personal conversations I’ve had with some of you:

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

Psalm 91:1-6

 Don’t Be Afraid — Pray

The news is blaring with all things coronavirus, and some of us have a bent toward panic and control while some of us have a bent toward passivity and a whatever attitude. And we can all waver between the two. 🙂

But as a church, I think we can encourage each other not to fear but to pray, and to speak truth to one another. We can also remind each other of who God is.

Would you pray with me? That God would cause those fearful to repent of their idolatry and cause them to ponder their mortality and turn to Him. That we as a church would be bold and eager and loving to share the gospel with our neighbors and those who express fear in our families and church family. That God would stem the tide of this virus and not allow any others to become ill or die.

But also, I wanted to encourage us to consider how we might practice love to our neighbor during flu season and with the slow spread of this specific coronavirus.

Love Our Neighbor

We have an increasingly “young” church, and those of us who are healthy and young without any underlying health conditions and strong immune systems might find it easy to scoff at the fear of those who are more cautious. Or we might think it no big deal to just show up sick.

Let’s remember that we have precious elderly saints among us who are more susceptible to severe illness. Let’s remember that we have young babies who are vulnerable to viruses. And we have immune-compromised church family among us who we might not see for long stretches of time during the cold and flu season because some of us don’t think twice about showing up, even when we’re very ill and contagious.

I don’t think this means we should never show up when we’re sick, but I think some of us can more lovingly consider our neighbor as we decide.

And for those who are more prone to fear and extreme isolation, let’s remember that we are church family, not just fellow carriers of illness. 🙂 Christians were often distinguished during times of plague and pestilence by their willingness to welcome people into their homes and to go out and care for the sick, even at personal risk.

Pray Together

Would you pray with me for all these things? That we would be this kind of church in the face of pestilence? And for the health workers among us who come in contact with the most ill? Let’s pray for their protection.

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